Majority Of Stormont Members Say They Oppose Government Plans To Rip Up Protocol

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Sinn Fein Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill is among those who have signed the letter (Photo: Niall Carson via PA Wire/PA Images)
Sinn Fein Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill is among those who have signed the letter (Photo: Niall Carson via PA Wire/PA Images)

Sinn Fein Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill is among those who have signed the letter (Photo: Niall Carson via PA Wire/PA Images)

A majority of members of the Stormont Assembly have outlined their opposition to Boris Johnson’s plans to rip up the Northern Ireland protocol.

Members of Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the Alliance Party signed a letter to the prime minister criticising the government bill which aims to over-ride parts of the Brexit agreement governing trade between Northern Ireland and Britain.

In all, they represent 52 of Stormont’s 90 seats, meaning they comfortably outnumber the unionist parties who oppose the protocol.

The intervention is significant because the government claims that the changes it is introducing are necessary to protect the Good Friday Agreement.

In their letter, the MLAs say they “reject in the strongest possible terms your government’s reckless new protocol legislation, which flies in the face of the expressed wishes of not just most businesses, but most people in Northern Ireland”.

It says that “whilst not ideal, the protocol currently represents the only available”.

Publishing the letter on Twitter, Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Fein’s leader at Stormont, said: ” The unilateral actions of Boris Johnson are utterly reckless. It is clearly a breach of international law. The impact on our businesses & economy could be colossal.”

The letter was published as foreign secretary Liz Truss prepares to publish the controversial legislation at the House of Commons.

If passed, it would give ministers the power to over-ride key parts of the protocol which have led to customs checks taking place on goods travelling between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

But critics say the unilateral action would break international law by effectively ripping up the Brexit agreement struck between the EU and UK.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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