The UK will focus on efforts to reform the Northern Ireland Protocol in an effort to preserve stability, deputy prime minister Dominic Raab said as the Government grappled with the implications of Sinn Fein’s Stormont success.
The victory in the Stormont contests was the first for a republican party and “ushers in a new era” of politics, Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill said.
Her party is committed to a border poll on unification with Ireland, although that is not a likely prospect in the short term, with Mr Raab pointing out that a majority of voters in Northern Ireland had not supported Sinn Fein’s position.
Quizzed on the Northern Ireland Protocol, Raab said the Government would take “whatever measures are necessary” to resolve the issues around the legislation.
But he refused to say whether action on the Northern Ireland Protocol would be included in Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech.
He told Sky News: “If anything, the outcome in Northern Ireland from those elections makes it clear it can’t be put off.”
He suggested it would be dealt with in the coming “weeks and months”, warning that stability in Northern Ireland was being “imperilled” by the dispute over the protocol – which was agreed by Boris Johnson’s Government as part of the Brexit divorce from the EU.
When Ridge pointed that out, Raab was left speechless as he stumbled over his words.
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