Brexit should be Boris' priority! Jeffrey Donaldson demands Article 16 commitment from PM

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Boris Johnson has been urged to make Brexit his priority and commit to invoking Article 16 if the EU refuses to budge in talks. DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has called on Mr Johnson to publicly commit to “take the steps necessary to restore Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market” and invoke Article 16. His remarks on Sky News come after DUP’s Paul Givan resigned from the post of First Minister in Northern Ireland on Thursday in protest against the ongoing stalemate on the protocol.

Sir Jeffrey said: “I welcome the commitment of foreign secretary Liz Truss to drive forward the negotiation.

“But it disappoints me that Boris cannot give a firm commitment that if an agreement with the EU is not reached, that he will take the steps necessary to restore Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market – that means triggering Article 16.

“That is the commitment I need to get from this Prime Minister.

“No more words, we need action here in Northern Ireland.”

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He also urged the PM to “recognise that we have a serious problem here, instead of being focused on what’s going on in Downing Street”.

In an interview broadcast earlier this morning, the DUP leader said: “I would say this to the prime minister: Northern Ireland is an important part of the United Kingdom.

“You’re our prime minister and if you want to build confidence, then do what other prime ministers did in the past and recognise that we have a serious problem here and instead of being focused on what’s going on in Downing Street, be the prime minister the people need.

“Reach out to Northern Ireland, help us to resolve these issues, make this a priority, let’s get our political institutions restored on the basis of sound foundations.

The DUP leader said the PM made the stark admission during a private meeting last week.

Sir Jeffrey also revealed Mr Johnson could not guarantee the UK would take unilateral action in the form of Article 16 if the current Brexit negotiations with Brussels failed.

On Wednesday, the DUP’s agriculture minister, Edwin Poots, ordered a halt to Brexit checks on food and farm products at all Northern Ireland ports and airports.

The DUP’s order, setting it on a collision course with Brussels, is already being challenged in the courts.



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