King's Speech: unionists must be wary of any 'spin' around NI Protocol problems, says TUV

King Charles II (Photo: Alkis Konstantinidis)
King Charles II (Photo: Alkis Konstantinidis)

​With the DUP continuing to boycott the devolved powersharing arrangements at Stormont over concerns that the NI Protocol weakens Northern Ireland’s constitutional position, there has been some speculation that the November 7 address in the Lords could boost the prospect of a DUP return.

It will be King Charles’ first King’s Speech since becoming monarch on the death of Queen Elizabeth in September last year, although he did give the speech on behalf of his mother in May 2022.

The speech is written by government ministers and is read at the State Opening of Parliament. It sets out the programme of legislation the government intends to pursue in the forthcoming parliamentary session.

TUV deputy leader Ron McDowell said that unionists “should be wary of any attempt to spin” this King's Speech.

“Anything short of the full restoration of Northern Ireland's place as a full and equal part of the United Kingdom isn't enough,” he said.

"The government needs to be clear that Article Six – which is currently in suspension or subjugated by the Protocol to use the language employed in the judgements of His Majesty's courts – is being fully restored.”

Councillor McDowell added: "However it is dressed up, and regardless of what spin is deployed, anything less will mean that Northern Ireland is no longer a full part of the UK.

"Any commitment to TUV's idea of an Intertade UK body will be hollow without the underlying cause of the rupture between Northern Ireland and GB being addressed."

In his online blog, former Tory minister Sir John Redwood listed some of the things he would like to see in the King's Speech, but accepted they are "unlikely to appear".

One is the “completion of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill to remove the problems with the Windsor Framework, restoring UK government of NI, and another is the “restoration of the full EU Retained Law Bill with more EU law repeals and amendments”.