Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, has issued an initial assessment of the Government’s new Windsor Framework.
He says that while the agreement with the EU “undoubtedly” represents significant progress across a number of areas, it does “not deal with some of the fundamental problems at the heart of our current difficulties”.
He says his current assessment is that there remain “key areas of concern which require further legal clarification, re-working and change as well as seeing further legal text”.
“There are a number of elements requiring UK Government domestic legislation, draughts of which have not yet been published,” he explained.
The party has issued a list of “key areas of concern” with the current deal.
The new framework does not “adequately remedy the harm done” by the current Northern Ireland protocol, namely Northern Ireland’s ability to trade with the rest of the United Kingdom.
The party also wants the government to go above and beyond the Windsor Framework in lowering trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Sir Jeffrey believes that the proposed “Green Lane” for goods only travelling between the UK and Northern Ireland requires “greater clarity” on how it will work in practise.
Finally, the DUP believes that the so-called “Stormont Brake” – the right of the Northern Ireland assembly to block new EU laws that apply to Northern Ireland – must be effective in law, and allow members of the NI Assembly to determine whether amended or new laws are implemented.
Sir Jeffrey concluded his statement by stating that the party has already begun discussions with the UK Government on a number of issues where they want more clarity and believe more work is required.