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Leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Sir Jeffrey Donaldson delivering a speech as European Commission VP Maros Sefcovic arrives in Northern Ireland for talks on the Northern Ireland Protocol, which remains the major sticking point of EU-UK relations at present. The threat to bring down the Northern Ireland executive, and the Stormont Assembly, could significantly increase political tensions in Northern Ireland, scuppering any prospect of a deal between the UK and EU that is supported by all sides.

  • Politico's Suzanne Lynch tweets some of Donaldson's speech: ""The stakes could not be higher…At issue is one simple question – are we prepared to acquiesce in the undermining of our economic prosperity....and the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom, including the very act of union itself...We were told that the principle of consent would safeguard our position in the United Kingdom... unless it had the consent of the people of Northern Ireland...Our political institutions will not survive a failure to resolve the problems that the protocol has created...The EU insists on imposing a protocol that we believe is entirely unnecessary" says DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson, warning of a resurgence of anger that was seen during the summer."
  • The threat to pull down the power-sharing executive - Northern Ireland's devolved gov't currently comprised of the DUP and the republican Sinn Fein, nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), unionist Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and cross-community Alliance - is a major escalation in rhetoric from the DUP.
  • This comes as a poll has shown the DUP potentially falling from first to third place in the rankings of unionist parties, behind the moderate UUP and the hard-line loyalist True Unionist Voice (TUV).
  • Sean Whelan at RTE tweets some more Donaldson comments: "This is not simply a matter of removing checks at the border - EU law must not apply in Northern Ireland...NI does not get best of both worlds from protocol. Says it was a means to an end, not an end in itself. "EU is imperiling the very agreement it aims to defend. Must be equilibrium in NI: when not a single elected Unionist rep supports protocol, balance is lost...If UK demands in Command Paper were delivered, that would go some way to meeting unionist concerns. What wont work is tinkering or piecemeal arrangement must meet seven tests DUP set in summer"
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-0981 |

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