Tracey Magee: Boris Johnson resigns, what does it mean for Northern Ireland?

Analysis by UTV's Political Editor Tracey Magee

The tidal wave of UK government resignations including the Prime Minister's in recent days has led to many concerns about the lack of a functioning government in London.

But those worries have been around in Northern Ireland for months, due to the absence of a fully-functioning Executive.

The DUP collapsed the devolved institutions in protest at the Northern Ireland Protocol.

As Prime Minister, Boris Johnson took a highly controversial decision to introduce the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which will scrap certain parts of the post Brexit mechanism without consulting the EU.

So now the fundamental question concerning Northern Ireland, is whether the incoming Prime Minister will continue with that legislation which is due back in the House of Commons next week.

The Bill will reach the House of Lords in the autumn and it remains to be seen whether Boris Johnson's replacement, whoever that may be, will be prepared to make it law.

It is thought Conservative MPs want anyone in the leadership contest to pledge their support for the protocol legislation, before any endorsement.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson reacted to Boris Johnson's resignation saying 'there can be no functioning devolved government in Stormont and the protocol.'

In other words they cannot co-exist.

The other issue is the relationship with the EU.

The Bloc had been unprepared to negotiate with Boris Johnson because they do not trust him and they anticipated his resignation.

But will they be prepared to re-negotiate with a new Prime Minister and would that be sufficient to see the DUP return to government in Northern Ireland?

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