The rules introduced by the UK government represent “another part of the Irish Sea border overhaul”, DUP colleagues have warned.
Allegations that legislative orders issued by ministers confirmed Northern Ireland’s “separation” from mainland Britain came amid calls from the DUP for the London government to address concerns about the region’s post-Brexit trade arrangements.
The largest Union party withdrew from the devolved institutions at the beginning of last year in protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol.
While the UK and EU have agreed a revised Windsor Framework deal, the DUP has insisted it will not return to power-sharing at Stormont until the government provides further assurances about Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market.
There was renewed criticism after the government took measures to implement the revised regulations, particularly a green lane for the movement of goods.
These regulations are of immense political and constitutional importance because they reinforce the two-part division of our country
As well as concerns about the speed at which they were introduced and the lack of consultation, the DUP argued that they had still failed to secure the promised “unhindered trade” between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
Former DUP deputy leader Lord Dodds of Duncairn said in Parliament: “Make no mistake, the regulations before the House… along with others, create a regulatory and customs border in the Irish Sea, with Northern Ireland in over 300 cases “Subject to EU jurisdiction.” Areas that are fundamental to our economy.
“These regulations do not do what the government claims. They are actually another part of the Irish Sea border development under the Windsor Framework Protocol.”
He added: “Trade unionists cannot be expected to run a regime that breaks the union.”
Lord Dodds continued: “The government knows what it has to do. If they seriously believe in devolution, if they sincerely believe in the agreements they have made before, and if they sincerely value the Union, as we are told they do, then they will legislate for the changes needed – real, effective changes .
“It’s really up to the government what happens next.”
His DUP colleague Lord Morrow said: “Contrary to government statements that the Windsor framework allowed unfettered access to and from Northern Ireland within the UK internal market, these regulations reaffirm an agreement that effectively extends an existing border in the Irish Republic Lake accepted.”
“These regulations are of immense political and constitutional importance because they reinforce the two-part division of our country.”
He added; “Everything is not good and will not get better until the government grasps the situation.”
Former Labor MP Baroness Hoey, a Brexit supporter who now sits as a non-party MP, said: “Northern Ireland has been taken away from the UK.”
Magherafelt and Cookstown DUP politician Lord McCrea said: “I know that some in government have expressed extreme frustration with the DUP because they claim they have provided the DUP leader with enough fig leaves to get him to Stormont could return.”
“I find this statement from a government minister deeply offensive. Surely everyone knows that fig leaves were not able to cover Adam and Eve in the garden, nor will they be able to cover any dirty deal the government made over the heads of the people of Northern Ireland, when it comes to the constitutional future of Northern Ireland, our children and future generations.”
Labor leader Baroness Anderson of Stoke-on-Trent said: “We believe this legislation is crucial to the delivery of the Windsor framework.”
“While Labor does not believe the Windsor framework is perfect, we believe it represents a significant improvement on its predecessor.”
Environment Secretary Lord Benyon responded: “The Windsor framework restores the smooth flow of trade in the UK internal market by removing the unnecessary burdens that had disrupted East-West trade.
“We are confident that the Windsor Framework delivers on our objectives of ensuring Northern Ireland’s place in the Union is protected.
“Specifically, the framework enables goods that meet British standards to be available in all parts of the UK, ensuring that consumers in Northern Ireland have access to the same goods as elsewhere in the UK.”
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Source : www.newschainonline.com