DUP Leader Jeffrey Donaldson has confirmed the party will vote against the government’s Windsor Framework NI Protocol deal on Wednesday. Releasing a statement this afternoon, Donaldson said that “whilst representing real progress the [Stormont] “brake” does not deal with the fundamental issue which is the imposition of EU law by the Protocol”:
“Since the announcement that the “Stormont Brake” is to be debated and voted upon in Parliament on Wednesday there have been a number of indications that this vote will be read as indicative of current positions on the wider Windsor Framework package.
Our Party Officers, the only decision-making mechanism in our party on these matters, met this morning and unanimously agreed that in the context of our ongoing concerns and the need to see further progress secured whilst continuing to seek clarification, change and re-working that our Members of Parliament would vote against the draft statutory instrument on Wednesday.
We will continue to work with the Government on all the outstanding issues relating to the Windsor Framework package to try to restore the delicate political balances within Northern Ireland and to seek to make further progress on all these matters.”
There had been hopes within Downing Street that while the DUP might abstain, they wouldn’t outright oppose it. Turns out the DUP had other plans…
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…
After over two hours selling the Windsor Framework to the Commons last night, Rishi has crossed the Irish Sea this morning to do the same in Northern Ireland. It’ll be a whistle stop tour meeting small business owners and shaking hands before quickly jetting back to Westminster to face the 1922 Committee at 5pm. A lot to pack in…
While plenty of Tory MPs are publicly backing the deal – almost every newspaper splashes a celebratory headline – there are still two key groups yet to play their hands: the DUP and the ERG. This morning DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson offered only a lukewarm response on the Today Programme, claiming “I have said progress has been made, we continue to have some concerns”. He claimed the party still needs time to review the full text, though hastened to add “we are reasonable people”. David Davis told GB News he expects them to abstain…
The ERG, meanwhile, will hold a full plenary meeting this evening at 6pm to decide their response. Mark Francois called the meeting last night just as the full text was published. One MP told Guido they are “agnostic”, although ultimately expect them to back it… Guido’s not sure there won’t be some holdouts.
Statement from DUP Chairman Lord Morrow of Clogher Valley. DUP Chairman Lord Morrow said:
“Nominations for the position of Party Leader closed today (Tuesday 22 June) at 12 noon. I can confirm that I have received one valid nomination, that being from Sir Jeffrey Donaldson.
Following the completion of our party processes Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP will be the next leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.
The last number of weeks has been difficult for the Party and mistakes have been made. Now is the time to move forward in a spirit of humility and mindful that our focus must be on serving the people whom we represent.
I look forward to the challenges of rebuilding and reconnecting in the time ahead.”
Brace for a by-election in Lagan Valley…
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s statement in full: