The British Prime Minister is travelling to the North today as the political deadlock at Stormont continues.
Boris Johnson will meet with party leaders after again suggesting he will move to unilaterally change the Northern Ireland protocol in the coming days.
Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Johnson said “many things have changed” in the two years since he officially signed off on the protocol.
He said the EU is not willing to renegotiate the agreement and warned that if it does not change its position, “there will be a necessity to act”.
It comes amid growing speculation that Westminster is preparing to publish legislation that would override the treaty – with Mr Johnson promising to “set out a more detailed assessment and next steps to parliament in the coming days”.
Mr Johnson claimed he was committee to keeping the door open to “genuine dialogue” and referred to a potential “landing zone” for an agreement.
It comes after the Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney used the same phrase in an interview on UK television on Sunday.
Speaking to Sky News he said an agreement was possible but said the “sabre-rattling and grandstanding in Westminster” on the issue is not helpful.
Sinn Féin came out of last week’s elections as the largest party in the North for the first time in its history.
The DUP is refusing to re-enter the Executive until the protocol is torn up – meaning Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O’Neill cannot be installed as First Minister.
The party has also refused to nominate a speaker, meaning the Stormont Assembly is also blocked from carrying out its work.
Unilateral action by the British govt to denounce the Withdrawal Agreement, or disapply the Protocol is reckless.
Only through joint agreement with the EU can solutions to problems be found
I will tell Boris Johnson he is feeding political instability and economic uncertainty
— Michelle O’Neill (@moneillsf) May 15, 2022
In a tweet last night, Ms O’Neill warned that any unilateral action undermining the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is “reckless” – and pledged to tell Boris Johnson he is “feeding political instability and economic uncertainty” with his stance.
DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said his party was waiting for “decisive action” on the protocol from Westminster.
“Until that action is taken, the consensus necessary for power sharing in Northern Ireland does not exist,” he said.
“We respect the mandate received by other parties, but equally they must recognise the clear view expressed by the Unionist electorate.”
Some 60% of the MLAs elected to the Stormont Assembly are in favour of the protocol.