EU’s mask has slipped! Brexiteer lashes out citing proof Brussels endangering peace

Northern Ireland protocol is a 'complete turkey' says Foster

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He said the implementation of the Brexit withdrawal agreement was destroying the Good Friday Agreement and turning Northern Ireland’s communities against one another. Sir Jeffrey claimed the EU’s refusal to scrap the Protocol despite the devastating impact it was having was proof Brussels was being disingenuous in advocating the mechanism.

Unionists argue customs checks imposed on goods crossing the Irish Sea from Great Britain as part of the deal are having a damaging impact on the UK’s internal market.

They say the extra red tape means British businesses are less likely to export to the province and that Northern Ireland is suffering as a result.

Brussels and the Westminster Government have been locked in intense talks on the Protocol since October last year, trying to find a compromise solution to make the Protocol sustainable in the long run.

However, with little progress made over the five months, Sir Jeffrey said Unionists were “rapidly losing faith” that a negotiated solution can be achieved.

He said: “The EU can no longer keep up the pretence that the protocol was about protecting peace.

“The Irish Sea border does not have the support of a single unionist elected representative.

“It is divisive and undemocratic. It trashes the cross-community consent principle.

“The absence of a functioning Executive or North-South structures demonstrates that the protocol is an unrivalled danger to fairness and progress in Northern Ireland.

“Unionism is rapidly losing faith that a negotiated solution is possible.

“It is time for the Government to take actions which restores fairness and reinstates Northern Ireland’s access to the UK internal market.

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“This is the only way to build a better future for everyone in Northern Ireland.”

He added the Protocol was the “greatest threat to progress and prosperity in Northern Ireland of our generation”.

The Government has warned for months that the threshold of disruption has been met for the UK to trigger Article 16 of the Protocol to legally unilaterally suspend aspects to the treaty.

It has held back on doing so to date saying that it would rather negotiate a diplomatic solution.

The DUP are demanding now take action.

Earlier this month, Sir Jeffrey pulled DUP First Minister Paul Givan out of the Stormont Executive in protest at the Protocol – a move that removed the power-sharing administration’s ability to make any significant decisions.

The party hoped the move would spur the UK Government into triggering Article 16.

Ministers have said negotiations will continue for now.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will next meet her EU counterpart for talks on Monday.

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