Windsor Framework "implementation" talks show London not serious about restoring NI's place in Union - Allister
It comes amid speculation any deal between the government and the DUP will focus on arrangements for the ‘green lane’ on the Irish Sea border. Last week, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson asked the government to look at ‘unnecessary customs processes’ at Northern Ireland’s ports.
The DUP leader also told party members that the current green lane arrangements were not “acceptable or practical” – but that a smoother system should become the “default route” for goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
The Ulster Unionists say both the UK government and the Labour opposition have made it clear that the Windsor Framework is the only option they will consider – and have accused others of spinning that a “magic solution is coming”.
The TUV have said the Brussels meeting shows London is not serious about restoring equal citizenship for Northern Ireland.
Posting on X, formerly Twitter, Mr Sefcovic said he had welcomed David Cameron to Brussels, adding: “We discussed the Withdrawal Agreement, including implementation of the Windsor Framework & citizens’ rights; matters related to the TCA, including trade & energy, as well as other issues of interest such as our common support for Ukraine”.
Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron made no mention of the Windsor Framework discussion in his social media post.
Jim Allister said having the leader of the remain campaign representing the UK in Brussels on the Framework showed that the idea the government was going to restore Northern Ireland’s place in the UK was “for the birds”.
The TUV leader told the News Letter: “Clearly the EU has no notion of doing anything to address the flaws in the Windsor Whitewash as Lord Cameron and Mr Sefcovic were merely discussing its implementation, not its replacement.
“No one in Northern Ireland voted for Mr Sefcovic and one suspects that few would if given the opportunity and yet here he is proclaiming that he discussed matters which impact on the daily lives of citizens and businesses in this part of the United Kingdom.
“With the leader of the remain campaign now representing His Majesty’s Government in discussions with the EU the idea that London is serious about restoring our place as equal citizens is for the birds.
“Far from us being on the cusp of some great Unionist victory it is increasingly obvious that Unionism needs to toughen in its resolve to refuse to return to Stormont unless the Acts of Union are restored.”
The EU told the News Letter that “both sides discussed the implementation of the Windsor Framework” and restated its position that “the EU and the UK have jointly agreed to fully implement that agreement”.
The News Letter asked the UK Government if the discussions involved changes to the current processes and checks – and whether they had asked for this from the EU given that DUP leader asked the Secretary of State to look at "unnecessary customs processes". The government did not respond.
Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie said “It cannot be a surprise to anyone that, as we have always said, there is no likelihood of any further substantive changes to the Windsor Framework. We have spoken with both the Westminster Government and the Opposition on this matter in depth. Their response has been clear in that they see the Windsor Framework as the only option available and will not reopen negotiations with the EU.
“Those who continue to spin that a magic solution is coming, are guilty of the most ridiculous misdirection.
“While our teachers and health workers suffer from a wages border in the Irish Sea, our families suffer from rising costs. Services across “Northern Ireland. continue to be gutted while those who continue to promise a better way know the reality is that they cannot deliver what they have promised.
“Restoring devolved government is the only option and it allows us to use its mechanisms to challenge issues surrounding the Framework. Staying out has achieved nothing and will continue to achieve nothing”