Saturday, July 20, 2024

A DUP deal has been published that aims to restore devolution in Northern Ireland

  • By John Campbell
  • BBC News NI Economics and Business Editor

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Chris Heaton-Harris said the plans in the deal would “protect Northern Ireland's place in the UK single market”.

The DUP has boycotted Stormont's devolved government for two years in protest over post-Brexit trade rules.

The deal will reduce checks and paperwork on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The changes apply to GB goods that are in NI and mean that those goods do not have regular checks.

Those changes include the maximum flexibility allowed under the previous EU/UK agreement, which would be acceptable to the EU.

On Tuesday, the UK and EU coalition reached agreement to make changes to that agreement to allow NI to benefit from UK free trade agreements.

The DUP demanded changes to the way goods are traded between Northern Ireland and Great Britain to end its Stormont standoff.

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TUP leader Sir Geoffrey Donaldson gave an interview to the BBC on Wednesday, breaking down the details of the deal.

The Government will introduce two pieces of legislation to ensure that Northern Ireland's goods can be sold in Great Britain under all circumstances and to ensure Northern Ireland's place in the UK.

Appearing on BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback program on Wednesday, DUP leader Sir Geoffrey Donaldson was asked whether the deal would remove a trade border in the Irish Sea.

“Our aim is to eliminate the Irish Sea border for goods coming from the UK and that's what we've achieved,” he said.

“If we bring goods to sell in Northern Ireland anymore, you are no longer in a situation where you need a customs declaration.”

He added that those bringing goods into Northern Ireland to sell in Northern Ireland or for their own consumption “will not require a customs declaration at Northern Ireland ports and there will be no physical checks (on those goods)”.

The DUP leader argued that it would “remove the border in the UK internal market”.

Sir Geoffrey praised Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, saying he “has delivered where others have not”.

The DUP leader compared the current number 10 to one of his predecessors, Boris Johnson, saying Mr Johnson “promised us a lot of things but he didn't deliver them”.

“Rishi Sunak has worked with us, the Secretary of State has worked with us, the Downing Street team has worked with us to make these changes,” he added.

Sir Geoffrey said the deal was far from perfect, he had not achieved everything the DUP wanted and explained there was still a lot of work to be done on the “vital issue” of veterinary drugs.

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Westminster leaders welcome talks to restore devolution in Northern Ireland

The Prime Minister has praised the “significant steps” taken by the DUP to agree the deal.

Opening Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Mr Sunak thanked the DUP for its efforts and said other parties had shown patience over the past two years.

He said now was the chance to get devolution back on track by “strengthening our union and giving people the local, accountable government they need”.

The Prime Minister also said it would provide “a brighter future for Northern Ireland”.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer described it as a “critical moment” and that all parties must work together to kickstart devolution.

Meanwhile, the main Stormont parties are meeting Tánaiste (Irish Deputy Prime Minister) Michael Martin in Belfast on Wednesday.

Mr Martin added that the “Irish Government has no problem regulating and ensuring the smooth flow of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.

Northern Ireland's Brexit deal, the Windsor Framework, keeps goods within the EU's single market.

It blocked a post-Brexit trade border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

However, this meant introducing checks and restrictions on goods from Great Britain.

See also  McCarthy lost the 11th ballot amid hopes of a tentative deal with the Conservatives.
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