Westminster turmoil causing more instability at Stormont, DUP says

Westminster Turmoil Causing More Instability At Stormont, Dup Says
Gordon Lyons said the UK government needs to focus on unblocking the issues caused by Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol. Photo: PA
Share this article

By David Young, PA

Political instability at Westminster is hindering efforts to restore powersharing in Northern Ireland, a DUP minister has warned.

Gordon Lyons said the flux at Downing Street following Liz Truss’s resignation as British prime minister was diverting focus from resolving issues with Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol.


The DUP is refusing to engage with the devolved institutions in Belfast until decisive action is taken to remove the protocol’s economic barriers on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The party’s stance means it has not been possible to form a ministerial executive at Stormont following May’s Assembly election.

Goods arriving in Northern Ireland from Great Britain are subject to checks under the terms of the protocol (PA)


A six-month legislative deadline to form an administration expires next Friday. If no executive is in place by that date the British government assumes a legal responsibility to call another election.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has made clear he will call a fresh poll if the deadline passes, with December 15th the likely date.

The UK government has vowed to secure changes to the protocol, either by a negotiated compromise with the EU or through proposed domestic legislation (the NI Protocol Bill) which would empower ministers to scrap the arrangements without the approval of Brussels.

Relations between the UK, Ireland and the EU appear to have improved in recent weeks and all sides have been talking up the potential for a deal through fresh negotiations.


However, the chances of an imminent breakthrough appear to have receded amid the Conservative Party turbulence at Westminster.

Mr Lyons said events in London were exacerbating the political problems in Northern Ireland.

“It’s a very difficult period of time, there’s no doubt about that, for Northern Ireland,” he told BBC Radio Ulster.

“We have a problem here in Northern Ireland because of the protocol. It’s making government impossible. It’s taken away the political stability that we need.


“We need the UK government to sort this out, either via negotiation with the EU or by taking through the protocol Bill.

“Unfortunately, the lack of political stability in Westminster right now is preventing us from getting the political stability back in Stormont as well.

“We’ve been very clear about what we believe needs to happen but ultimately what we need first is for a government to be in place that’s prepared to deal with these issues.

“That’s why we need the Government to be operating in Westminster so that they can unblock the political instability here in Northern Ireland. It’s the protocol that is the barrier to us getting back to Stormont and have a fully functioning executive again.”


The other main Stormont parties continue to criticise the DUP’s stance. They claim they are holding the electorate in the North to ransom by blocking the formation of an executive that could take action to support people struggling in the cost-of-living crisis.

Ulster powersharing
Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill has accused the DUP of denying democracy. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA

Speaking on Thursday, Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill claimed the DUP was denying people democracy as she accused the party of failing to respect the result of May’s election, which Sinn Féin emerged from as the largest party.

She said it appeared that Northern Ireland was on course for another election.

“We’re being denied democracy by the DUP at this moment in time,” she said.

Commenting on the Tory leadership contest, Mr Lyons said his party did not have a preferred candidate.

UK-EU protocol talks ‘will continue’ if snap Storm...
Read More

“Regardless who is prime minister, the job remains the same – they need to deal with the issues that we’re facing around the protocol.

“They need to deal with that either through negotiation with the European Union or putting through the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.

“Personalities are not what I’m interested in right now, it’s about getting someone in place that’s prepared to deal with these issues.”

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2023, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com