Boris Johnson insists Good Friday Agreement more important than Protocol as DUP continues protest

The Prime Minister made the comments during his trip to Sweden and Finland.

Boris Johnson has reiterated his threat to override elements of the Northern Ireland Protocol - warning the EU that the Good Friday Agreement is more important than the post-Brexit deal.

At a press conference in Sweden, Mr Johnson said said on Wednesday that the protocol fails to command cross-community support in the region, adding "we need to sort it out", despite warnings from European leaders not to meddle with the agreement he brokered.Mr Johnson's comments come as the DUP continue to refuse to take part in the Stormont institutions until the protocol is reformed, and as reports emerge that the UK government is considering over-riding elements of the protocol.

Speaking to ITV News on Wednesday afternoon, DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said that the Government, the House of Commons and the House of Lords has to choose between the Good Friday Agreement and the Protocol.

He urged the government to take action and repeated his insistence that the DUP will not enter a Stormont Executive until the Protocol issue is dealt with.

Sir Jeffrey and the DUP argue that the Protocol undermines NI's place in the union and the UK market and fails to command the support of the unionist community.

He therefore believes the continuing functioning of the protocol is incompatible with the cross-community basis of power-sharing government.

Other parties and governments involved in the Protocol row disagree with the DUP's position.

Speaking in Belfast today, Irish foreign Minister Simon Coveney TD said that the British Government's threats to override elements of the Protocol "have gone down really badly" with the EU.

Mr Coveney also said that people in NI had shown in last week's election that they want their politicians to be making decisions at Stormont.

The Alliance Party MP Stephen Farry, speaking after meeting with Mr Coveney, said that any unilateral action by the UK government on the Protocol will only add to political instability, "not solve things".

Mr Farry also rejected much of the DUP's arguments about the Protocol issue, saying that "They are the author of many of their own misfortunes in that regard."

In this comment, he was echoing the remarks made in the House of Commons last night by former Prime Minister Theresa May about the DUP.

Mrs May claimed that the DUP had prevented the passage of her softer Brexit deal, one that would've avoided the conflict with the Good Friday Agreement.

For his part, Sir Jeffrey did not accept this point. Speaking to ITV News on Wednesday afternoon, he said that Mrs May's deal would've led to NI being part of the EU customs Union and single market and would've been "infinitely worse" for NI.

Sir Jeffrey added that he did not want to dwell on the past and wished to look forward to find solutions.

Mr Farry's comments and the DUP's stance represented different interpretations of the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement, in the wake of last week's election.

The Alliance party's stance is that there is a "supermajority" of MLAs who support Stormont's return, and therefore the DUP do not have sufficient basis to prevent devolved government on their own.

The DUP believes that they have received a clear mandate from the electorate to not enter power-sharing.

They further believe that as no unionist party supports the protocol continuing in its current form, there is no cross-community basis to implement it.

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