DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has restated his position to the Minister for Foreign Affairs that his party will not re-enter the Stormont Assembly until the Northern Ireland Protocol is replaced.
Tánaiste Micheál Martin is meeting the main five political parties in Belfast amid the continuing stalemate within the devolved government.
One year ago, former First Minister Paul Givan (DUP) resigned as part of his party’s protest over the post-Brexit deal.
The DUP contends the protocol is a border in the Irish Sea and is undermining the union between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
Negotiations between the UK and the EU on the protocol remain ongoing.
— DUP (@duponline) February 3, 2023
Speaking after his meeting with Mr Martin, Mr Donaldson said it had been a “useful and constructive conversation”.
He said: “Over eighteen months ago we outlined the parameters for the way forward. We set our tests and those continue to be our yardstick for measuring any deal between the EU and UK.
“There will be no restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive until the protocol is replaced with arrangements that unionists, as well as nationalists, can support. Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market must be restored and our constitutional arrangements must be respected.
“We are seeking the restoration of democratic decision-making to the Assembly, replacing the democratic deficit created by the protocol.
“Why should anyone want to deny the people of Northern Ireland, through their democratically elected representatives, a say or a vote on vast swathes of the laws governing our economy and which affect the people of Northern Ireland so directly?”