BELFAST (Reuters) – The head of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party on Tuesday said the British government would need to introduce legislation to win its support for a UK-EU deal to simplify post-Brexit trade rules.
A key test of the deal reached by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with Brussels last month is its ability to convince the DUP to end a year-long boycott of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government over the original post-Brexit trade rules.
The party last week announced a group to conduct a month-long consultation on the deal and on Tuesday said it was talking with the British government about how its concerns might be addressed in legislation.
“We’ve been clear to the government as the framework sits at the moment, it is insufficient to fully address the concerns that we have,” DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said in an interview with the BBC in Washington.
“What we are doing on an ongoing basis is identifying what those concerns are and what the remedy is in law, particularly legislation,” he said.
Donaldson listed five areas of concern, including the harm done to Northern Ireland’s union with the rest of the United Kingdom, its place in the UK’s internal market, the role of EU law, the workings of a “green lane” for imports from Britain and the “democratic deficit” around the imposition of EU laws.
“We need to see in legislation, in UK law, clear remedial action to repair the harm done to the Act of Union,” Donaldson said.
Clear protection “in UK law” was also needed to protect Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom’s internal market, he said.
(Reporting by Amanda Ferguson, Sachin Ravikumar and Conor Humphries, editing by William James)