You may remember that the DUP successfully inserted clause 50 into the first stage Brexit agreement in December 2017.
‘In the absence of agreed solutions, as set out in the previous paragraph, the United Kingdom will ensure that no new regulatory barriers develop between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, unless, consistent with the 1998 Agreement, the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly agree that distinct arrangements are appropriate for Northern Ireland. In all circumstances, the United Kingdom will continue to ensure the same unfettered access for Northern Ireland’s businesses to the whole of the UK internal market’.
This text – a trump card – appeared to place NI’s future firmly in the hands of its Executive and Assembly.
However, the DUP then arguably scuppered its own negotiating position by refusing to reinstate the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly in February this year, and there was no Executive in place that could object to or amend the new Withdrawal Agreement proposals.
How on earth could the British Brexit negotiating team do as the DUP wished, when the DUP had itself sabotaged their own position?
And not only that, but in doing so the DUP prevented the UUP, TUV and the other political parties from doing so either.
What an omnishambles!
Bernard J. Mulholland, Belfast BT9