LONDON ( Associated Press) – Northern Ireland’s second-largest political party says it will block the formation of an executive legislature in Belfast on Friday and continue the boycott until the UK government breaks post-Brexit business rules, which accused of destabilizing the region.
The move by the Democratic Unionist Party deepens Northern Ireland’s political deadlock, fueling a UK-EU feud that could turn into a trade war between Britain and the 27-nation EU.
The DUP finished second in last week’s Northern Ireland assembly election This saw the Irish nationalist party Sinn Féin win the most seats – the first time a party seeking union with the Republic of Ireland has won an election in a stronghold of Protestant power.
Under Northern Ireland’s mandated power-sharing rules, which give Sinn Féin the rank of First Minister, the DUP takes the job of Deputy First Minister. A government cannot be formed until both roles are filled, and the DUP says it will not participate until border checks on goods moving into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK are over. Caste.
The party also says it will block MPs electing the speaker, which meets on Friday, leaving the assembly unable to function.
DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said the party’s concerns over the new trade rules, known as the Northern Ireland Protocol, “are not just some political controversy.”
“The protocol is a direct challenge to the principles that have underpinned every agreement in Northern Ireland over the past 25 years of the Northern Ireland peace process”, he said. “It erodes the foundations on which transfer is built.”
Sinn Féin leader Michelle O’Neill accused the DUP of “shamefully holding the public to ransom for Brexit disturbances”.
The arrangement for Northern Ireland – the only part of the UK that shares a land border with the EU nation – has been the hardest-hit subject of contention in its divorce from the UK bloc, which lasted at the end of 2020.
A deal was agreed to keep the Irish border free of customs checks and other checks, as an open border is a key pillar of the peace process that ended decades of violence in Northern Ireland. Instead, certain goods such as meat and eggs are prohibited from entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
The arrangement has been opposed by the DUP and other unionists in Northern Ireland, who say the new checks have created a barrier with the rest of the UK that is hurting businesses and undermining the unionists’ British identity.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government says the political standoff in Belfast is evidence the rules – which it agreed – are destabilizing Northern Ireland’s peace deal, which relies on support from both Protestant unionist and Catholic nationalist communities . The UK says it will take unilateral action to suspend some rules if the EU does not agree to major changes.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Britain would have “no choice but to act” if the EU does not show enough “resilience”. The UK could introduce legislation giving it the power to terminate the treaty as soon as next week.
The European Union accused Johnson’s government of threatening to break international law by violating the binding treaty.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told the BBC: “Don’t forget that this treaty was designed and ratified and agreed upon by the British government under this prime minister.” “He stood for election and got a massive mandate from the British people behind that deal and is now blaming the deal for the problems in Northern Ireland.”
Amid growing signs the UK is planning to scrap at least part of its Brexit divorce deal, Johnson Weeks sent a government minister, Conor Burns, to Washington, to discuss the potential risks to a Northern Ireland peace between US officials Efforts can be made to allay the doubts. President Joe Biden has warned that neither side should do anything to undermine the Good Friday Agreement, the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that laid the foundation of peace.