Politics

London must attend to protocol issues, Brandon Lewis says


Northern secretary Brandon Lewis has acknowledged the UK government would “have to address” issues relating to the Northern Ireland protocol.

Speaking ahead of a meeting with the leaders of the five Stormont parties he urged them to form an Executive as soon as possible.

“This process must begin with the nomination of an Assembly speaker to allow legislation to progress and address the important issues affecting the people of Northern Ireland.

“We have to address the outstanding issues relating to the Northern Ireland protocol, and we want to do that by agreement with the EU, but as we have always made clear, we will not shy away from taking further steps if necessary,” he said.

Post-Brexit trade

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has signalled the UK government must act over concerns about the post-Brexit trading arrangements before his party will nominate ministers to a new Executive.

On Sunday, justice secretary Dominic Raab pledged the UK government would take “whatever measures are necessary” to reform the protocol. He suggested it would be dealt with in the coming “weeks and months”.

Elsewhere, the US government has urged political leaders in Northern Ireland to re-establish a power-sharing executive.

‘Collective efforts’

The state department said the US remained “deeply committed to preserving the peace dividend of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and will always strive to protect these gains for all communities”.

The state department said critical and immediate challenges concerning the economy, health and education were best addressed “through the collective efforts of a devolved government chosen by, and accountable to, its people”.

“We look forward to continuing our work with democratic partners in Northern Ireland, and with the governments of the United Kingdom and Ireland, to support peace, prosperity and stability across the region.” – PA, Additional reporting Martin Wall



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