DUP launch new campaign to abolish the NI Protocol

The Northern Irish DUP have unveiled a new campaign to scrap the controviersial Northern Ireland Protocol from Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, following a whirlwind week in which Eurocrats briefly threatened disruption on the island of Ireland by invoking and revoking Article 16.

Party leader Arlene Foster is due to talk with Boris Johnson today, and also has meetings scheduled with Michael Gove and European Commission vice president Maroš Šefčovič. The key issue of the Protocol will be high on the agenda, after declaring the EU’s moves an “absolutely incredible act of hostility.”

Unionist dissatisfaction with the Protocol has been a constant theme since Boris secured his Brexit deal last December – a deal which won the support of Eurosceptics, but not without serious caveats.

The party had formerly been key players in the Brexit debate, after Theresa May’s failure to secure a majority in the 2017 general election. Her reliance on the party – and its hardline position on Brexit – meant she was unable to pass her own deal.

Boris Johnson’s massive 2019 majority allowed the Conservatives to govern alone and pass Boris’s deal without support from Northern Ireland’s biggest unionist party.

Ms Foster has now warned that the rules are so barmy that potatoes and tractors are being refused for export to Northern Ireland by British officials because they have British soil on them.

The DUP’s multi-pronged campaign hopes to ramp up the pressure on Westminster to scrap the Protocol and the resultant Irish sea border after the mask slipped from Brussels amid the ongoing vaccine wars.

It vows to work with other unionists and oppose the imposition of Protocol-related measures in the province’s Assembly, warning that such measures could “undermine the UK internal market.”

The group also vow to build alliances in Parliament to strengthen their position in the UK legislature, with some members of the Eurosceptic European Research Group apparently already on board with the new campaign.

Parliamentary pressure could be enhanced by the success of a new petition calling on the UK government to trigger Article 16 itself and protect “unfettered GB-NI trade”. If the petition secures enough signatures, it could potentially force a debate on the issue in the House of Commons.

But some will be concerned that the campaign has an ominous ring to it, with the DUP warning that “North-South relationships will be impacted.”