Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says DUP will 'take time to study' new Northern Ireland Protocol deal

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said his party will "take our time to study" the deal made between the UK and EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the 'Windsor Framework' on Monday.

Mr Sunak told reporters that the agreement “removes any sense of a border in the Irish Sea". The opinion of the DUP is seen as a key bellwether for the success of any deal, with the party's backing crucial to restoring power sharing at Stormont.

Speaking to UTV's View From Stormont, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: "We've only just received the legal text for this agreement, the political declaration that goes with it and the government has published their command paper which sets out their response to the agreement.

"We will take our time to study all of this," he added.

"It is vitally important that we fully understand what has been agreed and what the implications of all of that are for Northern Ireland in terms of our ability to trade within the UK and its internal market and the impact it has on businesses and consumers back home."

Sir Jeffrey explained that there was "no doubt progress has been made in some areas" but that remain "concerns in other areas and sectors".

He said his party would look at how the deal will "work for businesses in Northern Ireland, but more fundamentally, what does it mean for Northern Ireland's place in the United Kingdom and our Article 6 rights under the Act of Union".

One area of concern for the DUP has been the application of European Law in Northern Ireland since Brexit.

The DUP leader told UTV: "The key issue is why is EU law being applied and what is the purpose of that and, of course, if there is some element of EU law being applied, for example, to cover trade with the EU itself, to cover the moment of goods from NI into the EU single market, then we need to examine, if there were changes to that law that impacted on our ability to trade within the UK and internal market, what can Stormont do about that.

"That was a key test for us in our seven tests and so we will look at this 'Stormont Brake' to see if it reaches those requirements," Sir Jeffrey added.

"It is important that Stormont has that say and that the UK government has a veto over the implementation of EU law where it is harmful to Northern Ireland.

"We will examine all of that and we need also to look at why EU law is being applied, in what sectors and for what purpose,

"In our opinion, since most of the trade we do with the goods manufactured in Northern Ireland is with the rest of the UK then we need to ensure that within our biggest market, by far our biggest market, that we have full access to the rest of the UK.

"We will want to continue engaging with our government, with the prime minister and his team to see with the new arrangements will mean in practice."

Watch View From Stormont on UTV, Monday at 10:45pm.

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