Blog: DUP councillors reject legal action over Edwin Poots bid to halt Brexit Protocol checks – Belfast Live

DUP councillors in Belfast have distanced themselves from their city council joining a legal challenge against an attempt by Stormont minister Edwin Poots to halt Irish Sea border checks.

Mr Poots is being challenged in the High Court for instructing Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) staff to stop the checks on goods entering Northern Ireland’s ports.

The step taken in February by the DUP Agriculture Minister came amid the party’s ongoing opposition to Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol.

Read more:Stormont and councils in Northern Ireland ‘exploring options’ to save energy in winter

Mr Poots said he had received legal advice that he could order a halt in the absence of approval for the inspections from the wider Stormont Executive.

The protocol-related checks are continuing pending the outcome of the judicial review proceedings.

Belfast City Council, a Sinn Fein member granted anonymity and another applicant named Edward Rooney are all challenging the lawfulness of the minister’s decision.

They claim his decision was so significant and controversial that it required Executive consent.

Counsel for the minister argued checks on agri-food products entering Northern Ireland are not legally required because of its defined territorial standing within the United Kingdom.

In a statement, the DUP group of councillors on Belfast City Council said legal arguments for the local authority do not represent their position.

It said the council joined the case “at the behest of the pro-Protocol parties”.

They added: “It is our view that Belfast City Council should act on behalf of all the citizens of our great city.

“Therefore, it is unfortunate that this latest partisan approach is again sending a clear message to unionists that the council does not represent their views and interests.

“The additional squander of public money in pursuit of this politically motivated action by Belfast City Council is unnecessary and extremely divisive.”

The DUP group said they have written to the council’s chief executive asking for it to be made clear in the proceedings that submissions on behalf of the council “do not represent our views as unionist councillors”.

They added: “We have been clear and consistent in speaking and voting in opposition to the protocol, and support the position that Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom must be fully restored – and to that end we support the actions proposed by the DAERA minister.”


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