UUP Welcomes Govt Action On Protocol

UUP Leader Doug Beattie has welcomed the news that the UK Government is going to "move unilaterally to protect Northern Ireland's place within the UK internal market".

Adding that the current stand-off cannot continue, Mr Beattie said: "The EU needs to change its mandate. If they are in agreement that the landing zone is removing checks on goods which are coming into Northern Ireland from Great Britain and staying here, then why have we not reached a break-through yet?
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"We warned both the EU and the UK Government that if action wasn't taken before the election, what would come after might be unsalvageable. We did so last year and again this year in London and Brussels. Nothing was done. The people of Northern Ireland are now faced with no functioning government for an unknown period in the midst of a cost of living crisis and unprecedented pressures on our Health Service."

The UUP Leader said that throughout the process they have acknowledged the EU's right to protect its Single Market, but their foremost concern is that of Northern Ireland.

He continued: "We have been clear that an internal border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom is totally unacceptable. We have produced solutions that could have seen this resolved before now and in a way that didn't require unilateral action. This is not simply a unionist concern, it is something that affects all the people of Northern Ireland. It requires more than what has been a circular conversation for months. If all parties in the negotiation are agreed on what the way forward is, then they should have gotten on with it before now."

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