DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has established an 8-person panel to review Rishi’s Windsor Framework Brexit deal, with the aim to provide a report on the deal by the end of this month. The panel will include Arlene Foster and Peter Robinson, and work “independently” to provide a “wide consultation process within Northern Ireland, listening and taking views on the Framework document”. It’ll then indicate whether the DUP gives the deal a thumbs up or not…
Writing this afternoon, Donaldson said:
“In broad terms it is clear that significant progress has been secured across a number of areas whilst also recognising there remain key issues of concern. There can be no disguising the fact that in some sectors of our economy EU law remains applicable in Northern Ireland.
Our judgement and our principled position in opposing the Protocol in Parliament and at Stormont has been vindicated. Undoubtedly it is now recognised that the Protocol does not work. When others said there would be no re-negotiation and no change our determination has proved what can be achieved.
The DUP is now engaged in a detailed study of what has been published as well as examining the detail of the legal texts published to date. Clearly further legal text remains to be published to give effect to some of the changes already secured.
We have already commenced discussions with the UK Government on a range of issues where we require further clarity and where we believe more work will be needed.
During our Assembly election campaign, we indicated that the Protocol must be replaced with new arrangements that are able to command broad support in Northern Ireland and which respect Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom.
Today I have established a group to commence and undertake a wide consultation process within Northern Ireland, listening and taking views on the Framework document. This work will be undertaken in parallel with our on-going engagement with the UK Government.
The consultation group will comprise a mix of those who have political, legal and business experience. The consultation group will include Ms Carla Lockhart MP, Lord Weir of Ballyholme BL, Right Honourable Mr Peter Robinson, Baroness Fosterof Aghadrumsee DBE, Mr Ross Reed OBE, Mr Brian Kingston MLA, Mr John McBurney LL.B, and Mrs Deborah Erskine MLA.”
The DUP is internally split on the deal; Donaldson has signalled he’s open-minded, while Ian Paisley claimed it doesn’t meet the DUP’s seven tests. The DUP later clarified Paisley wasn’t speaking on behalf of the Party. Rishi will be crossing all his fingers in the meantime…