THE DUP have called on Westminster to “restore” Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market by honouring seven “promises” made by the government. 

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, leader of the DUP, set out a list of tests that the party wants the UK government to stick to in any further negotiations with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The NI Protocol was part of the Brexit deal, and to prevent goods checks along the Irish land border – a trade border was created in the Irish Sea instead.

This meant that Northern Ireland has been kept in the EU single market for goods, with EU custom rules enforced at its ports. 

READ MORE: Brexit: Boris Johnson attacks EU again over NI Protocol

However, the DUP are unhappy with the way this has been implemented, and have urged the UK government to trigger Article 16 of the withdrawal agreement.

The article is intended to be used when the protocol is leading to serious "economic, societal or environmental difficulties".

It allows either the UK or the EU to act unilaterally to avoid these difficulties - but doesn't mean the protocol is suspended.

And now, the DUP have listed seven key “promises” they want to be implemented as they claim the Protocol is the “greatest ever threat to the economic integrity” of the UK.

Speaking to MPs, Donaldson said: “Our tests are grounded not in a unionist wish list but in promises that have already been made in one form or another to the people of Northern Ireland. “I don’t believe it is too much to ask that the Government stands over these promises.”

The National:

The first “promise” is that any new arrangements must fulfil the guarantee of the sixth article of the Act of Union 1800 which “essentially requires that everyone in the United Kingdom is entitled to the same privileges, and to be on the same footing as to goods in either country and in respect of trade within the United Kingdom”.

Donaldson added: “Under the Protocol this is clearly no longer the case.”

Secondly, the DUP have asked that any diversion of trade must be avoided. 

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He said: “It is simply not acceptable that consumers and businesses in Northern Ireland are told that they must purchase certain goods from the EU and not Great Britain. 

“In this regard it is notable that Article 16 of the Protocol already permits the UK to take unilateral safeguarding measures to ensure there is no diversion of trade. The Government must do that.”

Thirdly, the DUP said that it is “essential” no future agreements include a trade border in the Irish Sea and demanded that Northern Ireland's place in the UK internal market is “restored”. 

Next, the fourth request is that the people of Northern Ireland be given a say in the making of the laws that govern them. 

Donaldson said: “This guarantee is implicit in Article 3 of protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, where it states quite clearly that in situations where people are subject to laws they should have the ability to freely express their opinion on those laws. 

The National:

“Northern Ireland does not have that in relation to EU regulations imposed upon it.”

The fifth and sixth promises regard no goods checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland - promised by Boris Johnson in December 2019 - and no new “regulatory barriers” between them created either. 

Lastly, Donaldson said that any new arrangements “must preserve the letter and the spirit of Northern Ireland’s constitutional guarantee” as set out in the Belfast agreement.

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He said: “By requiring in advance the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland for any diminution in its status as part of the United Kingdom. 

“Our consent was not sought for the diminution of our status and the repealing of a key element of the Act of Union that changed our status with the Northern Ireland protocol.”

The National:

Donaldson said there was “no practical or pragmatic reason” that the arrangements couldn’t be put in place, and that the DUP will be analysing any further developments to make sure the tests are reached.

He said: “ I hope for the sake of the integrity of the United Kingdom and the people of Northern Ireland we will not be disappointed.”