DUP working with other unionists in legal challenge to NI Protocol
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have announced that Leader Arlene Foster, Deputy Leader and Peer Nigel Dodds, Westminster Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Westminster Chief Whip Sammy Wilson will be joining ‘other likeminded unionists from across the United Kingdom’, as named parties in judicial review proceedings, challenging the Northern Ireland Protocol’s compatibility with Act of Union 1800, the Northern Ireland Act of 1998 and the Belfast Agreement.
Commenting Mrs Foster said:
“Alongside the political action we have been taking, we have considered a number of legal routes, and will be joining other unionists from across the United Kingdom in judicial review proceedings to challenge the Protocol, unless arrangements are put in place which are consistent with the Act of Union 1800, the Northern Ireland Act of 1998 and the Belfast Agreement.
“So far Ben Habib, Kate Hoey, and Jim Allister alongside ourselves are committed to these proceedings but we expect others will also join this path. Fundamental to the Act of Union is unfettered trade throughout the United Kingdom. At the core of the Belfast Agreement was the principle of consent yet the Northern Ireland Protocol has driven a coach and horses through both the Act of Union and the Belfast Agreement. “Neither the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Northern Ireland Executive nor the people of Northern Ireland consented to the Protocol being put in place or the flow of goods from GB to NI being impeded by checks. They certainly did not consent to the arrangements for those checks being determined by a power over which we have no democratic say.
“We are following our five-point plan of opposition to the Protocol and will challenge its imposition in the courts, in Parliament, in Stormont and in Brussels. The views of unionist will not be side-lined nor our concerns silenced.”
TUV Leader Jim Allister, who has given his backing to the legal challenge stated that the Judicial Review is a useful tool, but not a substitute for sustained political action against the Protocol.
Mr Allister said:
“I very much welcome the planned Judicial Review challenge to the iniquitous Protocol and count it a privilege to have helped get this to the starting blocks. Without Ben Habib and Baroness Hoey we would not be at this point.
“I sincerely hope that all strands of Unionism will join in this necessary effort and I’m encouraged by initial discussions in that regard. Anyone who cares about the integrity of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland’s place therein will support this endeavour.
“Whereas the Protocol is doing immense damage to commerce and thus our economy, it is its pernicious constitutional damage which concerns us above all. Extended ‘grace periods’, derogations and easements will do nothing to ameliorate the Protocol’s fundamental assault on our constitutional position.
“At the heart of this challenge will be the irreconcilable conflict of the sovereignty-busting Protocol with the foundational constitutional statute which bound us into the U.K., the Act of Union 1800 and particularly Article 6 thereof. The superseding of the cross-community mechanism, as the means of measuring consent for key decisions in the Assembly - through the Statutory Instrument introduced by the Secretary of State, which purports to set aside this protection in the scheduled 2024 vote in the Assembly - will also play a central role in this challenge.
“In joining in this Judicial Review challenge I make it very clear that it is not a substitute or alternative to sustained and effective political action against the Protocol. The imperative is for both, not least because the judicial review route will be protracted. Indeed, the more the implementation of the Protocol is disrupted the less sustainable it becomes.”