Boris Johnson is urging Northern Ireland politicians to “get back to work” seeking to break the deadlock in trade after Brexit.

The prime minister is due to travel to Belfast on Monday for crisis talks after the DUP blocked the election of a speaker at the Stormont Assembly, preventing it from sitting.

Separation of powers in Northern Ireland was suspended after elections earlier this month.

The system was introduced in the 1990s to end decades of violence and is a demand of the government in the country. The first minister and the deputy first minister must be one trade union, one nationalist.

Government sources said Mr Johnson was using a series of private meetings to convey a “tough message” that any “fix” to the post-Brexit trade protocol should involve the parties coming together to create an executive and an assembly.

He is expected to say that while the UK government will “play its part in ensuring political stability”, politicians need to “get back to work” so they can address “bread issues” for voters.

However, ahead of her visit, Sinn Fein – now the largest party in the Assembly since the May 5th election – accused the prime minister of colluding with the DUP and supporting his “blocking tactics”.

“Dangerous setup”

President Sinn Fein Mary Lou MacDonald said: “It’s very dangerous, it’s reckless, it’s a border game, very cynically carried out by the Tory government in London, which does not care about the island of Ireland, neither north nor south.”

President Sinn Fein Mary Lou MacDonald
President Sinn Fein Mary Lou MacDonald

The DUP strongly opposes this protocol as it requires checking goods moving from the UK to Northern Ireland to keep the border with the Republic open in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement.

Read more:
What is the Northern Ireland Protocol and why does it matter?

UK ministers have repeatedly stated that they will act unilaterally if no agreement is reached to reduce the impact of inspections that blame damage to business and develop tensions in society.

“Delicate balance”

In his talks with party leaders, Mr Johnson is expected to say that while the government will “always keep the door open for genuine dialogue”, it will be “necessary to act” to defend the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) if it does not change the EU’s position. .

He will insist that the government has never offered to repeal the protocol and recognizes that there should always be an agreement governing Britain’s relations with the EU vis-à-vis Northern Ireland to prevent the return of a tough border with the Republic.

However, he will say that the GFA’s “delicate balance” has been upset by eroding the historical economic ties linking Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, leaving the union community feeling that its aspirations and identity are at stake.

Ireland is not a “pawn”

But speaking Saturday after a Sinn Fein board meeting in Dublin, Ms MacDonald said the UK government had consistently not acted “in good faith”.

“Let’s be clear that the protocol is going nowhere. The protocol is a necessary result of Brexit, for which the Tories and the DUP have campaigned, ”she said.

“The British government cannot use Ireland as a pawn, we will not be a collateral damage in the Brexit negotiations.

“It is very clear that the Tory government in London is conspiring with the DUP to delay and restrain progress, to disrupt the will of the people expressed in the election, and that for anyone who calls himself a Democrat, this is clearly unacceptable and clearly shameful.”

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