UK

PM will urge Northern Ireland’s politicians to restore their power-sharing agreement

Boris Johnson gets tough: PM will urge Northern Ireland’s politicians to restore their power-sharing agreement and ‘get back to work’ as he visits Belfast for crisis talks

  • DUP blocked election of a Speaker at the Stormont assembly in protocol protest 
  • The move leaves the Northern Ireland Assembly unable to function 
  • Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he was sending a ‘clear message’ to the EU and the UK
  • Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill accused the DUP of ‘denying democracy’

The Prime Minister will urge politicians in Northern Ireland to restore power-sharing and ‘get back to work’.

Boris Johnson will visit Belfast tomorrow for crisis talks after the DUP blocked the election of a Speaker at the Stormont assembly in protest at the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The move leaves the Northern Ireland Assembly unable to function. DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he was sending a ‘clear message’ to the EU and the UK Government.

Boris Johnson will visit Belfast tomorrow for crisis talks after the DUP blocked the election of a Speaker at the Stormont assembly in protest at the Northern Ireland Protocol

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill accused the DUP of ‘denying democracy’. Sinn Fein is now the biggest party in the assembly after elections this month.

Government sources said Mr Johnson will use a series of private meetings to deliver a ‘tough message’ that parties must come together to form an executive and assembly. 

He is expected to say that while the UK Government will ‘play its part to ensure political stability’, politicians must ‘get back to work’ so they can deliver on ‘bread and butter issues’ for voters.

He will also update party leaders on the latest negotiations with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol. He is expected to say that while the Government ‘will always keep the door open to genuine dialogue’, there will be a ‘necessity to act’ to protect the Good Friday Agreement if Brussels does not change its position. Ministers have said they will act unilaterally if an agreement cannot be found.

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill accused the DUP of ‘denying democracy’. Sinn Fein is now the biggest party in the assembly after elections this month

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill accused the DUP of ‘denying democracy’. Sinn Fein is now the biggest party in the assembly after elections this month

But Mr Johnson will use his trip to insist the Government has never suggested scrapping the protocol and will acknowledge there will always have to be a treaty governing the UK’s relationship with the EU in respect of Northern Ireland.

Last night, No 10 sources denied reports of a rift between the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss over how to break the protocol deadlock. The reports came amid suggestions that Mr Johnson will strike a more conciliatory tone than Ms Truss.

But Downing Street sources said it was ‘not true’ to suggest a split between Mr Johnson and his Foreign Secretary.

The DUP opposes the protocol over checks on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

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