Legislation to change Northern Ireland Protocol expected to reach Parliament on Thursday

Legislation to change the Northern Ireland Protocol is likely to be brought to parliament on Thursday.

It is understood that the legislation will be automatically disable some parts of the Protocol and give ministers the opportunity to disable further parts in the future.

The new legislation is understood to restore the primacy of the Act of Union and removes ECJ jurisdiction.

There will also be changes to rules on state aid & VAT, with Northern Irish businesses to be allowed to choose between following UK or EU rules.

The Government are also understood to be considering allowing extra time for the bill to ensure it passes through the House of Commons before the summer recess.

But even the introduction of the legislation on Thursday may not be enough to persuade the DUP to return to Stormont.

“Clearly the DUP believe that they have already been double-crossed once by Boris Johnson,” explained UTV Political Editor Tracey Magee.

“They want to see the colour of his money before they make any decisions.

“I don’t think this will be enough to convince them to start what they’re describing as their graduated response this side of the summer because they see their only leverage as to whether or not they actually go back into the Assembly.

“So they will want to hold off to ensure they have got as far as they can with this legislation.”

The DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says he wants to see action rather than words.

“We do welcome the fact that the Prime Minister is now focussed on moving this forward and bringing forward legislation, but we want to see that happening,” he said.

“We’ve had the words, now let’s see the action.”

The Prime Minister survived a vote of no confidence on Monday night, but the UUP are concerned he may not be in a strong enough position to resolve the NI Protocol issues.

“We need the protocol fixed and we need a strong government to fix it,” said the UUP Leader Doug Beattie.

“If Boris Johnson’s not going to be strong, we need someone else who is.”

However, news of the potential legislation being brought to parliament wasn’t universally welcomed.

“This will be a hugely counterproductive move,” said the Alliance MP Stephen Farry.

“It will make the job of trying to get a breakthrough with the European Union around the Protocol much more difficult.”

Sinn Fein and the SDLP were both critical of the Conservative Party’s recent actions.

“Their infighting is actually having an impact on people’s lives here and that is not acceptable,” said Sinn Fein Vice-President Michelle O’Neill.

“The Tories approach to pander to the DUP is also not acceptable.”

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said: “The vast majority of MPs in the Westminster parliament don’t support Boris Johnson. That’s not a sustainable position for any Prime Minister to hold, so I think he’s on his way out.”

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