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Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists to vote against UK's new Brexit trade plan

1 year ago 39

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By Mark Armstrong  with AP  •  Updated: 20/03/2023 - 16:24

Democratic Unionist Party leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

Democratic Unionist Party leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson   -  Copyright  Peter Morrison/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.

In Northern Ireland, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, has announced that the party will vote against the British government's new Brexit trade arrangements for the province.

The Windsor Framework, as it is known, was meant to strengthen the Northern Ireland Protocol and bring reconciliation between Brussels and London. 

Hardline unionists see the new accord as an improvement on the old protocol but say it still doesn't go far enough in addressing their concerns over trade arrangements with the Irish Republic and with Great Britain. 

Sir Jeffrey said the DUP took the decision to vote against the framework as it stands at a meeting on Monday. 

He added that the party would continue to work with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's government on outstanding issues. 

The Northern Ireland Protocol lifted almost all customs controls between Northern Ireland and Great Britain and was aimed at avoiding any hard trade borders on the island of Ireland.

But it did lead to disagreements between London and Brussels and angered Northern Ireland unionists who didn't like the idea of an effective border in the Irish Sea.

After recent talks with Brussels, Sunak signed the Windsor Framework with the President of the European Commission and was hopeful that unionists would come on board.

British MPs are to be given a vote on the framework on Wednesday.

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