Legal challenge to NI Protocol to be appealed, taken to Supreme Court , say unionists

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister says Protocol signifies end of the Union

TUV leader Jim Allister, former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib and Baroness Hoey with solicitor Colin Dougan outside Belfast High Court. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

TUV leader Jim Allister, former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib and Baroness Hoey with solicitor Colin Dougan outside Belfast High Court. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

The Traditional Unionist Voice leader and Assembly member (MLA) Jim Allister, who was one of those who took a legal challenge against the lawfulness of the Northern Ireland Protocol, confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that the ruling would be appealed and could go as far as the UK’s Supreme Court.

“This battle is far from over because we refuse to accept that the Union is over, which is the message of the Protocol,” he said outside Belfast High Court.

Legal challenges against the lawfulness of the Northern Ireland Protocol were dismissed by a High Court judge in Belfast.

Mr Justice Colton rejected arguments that the contentious post-Brexit trading arrangements breached the terms of the 1800 Acts of Union and the 1998 legislation that underpins the Belfast Agreement.

Meanwhile the DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson warned that the decision could have “potential consequences for the future stability of political institutions” in Northern Ireland if not resolved.

In a post on social media, he said the court’s decision was “politically very significant”, adding that it “confirms the protocol damages our constitutional position in the UK contrary to the principle of consent and various agreements.”

The Sinn Féin MLA and junior minister Declan Kearney said he noted the High Court’s judgement and called for the protocol to be fully implemented in order to give businesses certainty and stability.

“There is no credible alternative to the protocol,” he said. “The majority of MLAs, businesses and people across society want it to work.”

The Ulster Unionist party MLA Steve Aiken said the issue at stake was one of such “magnitude” that it had to be appealed to be a higher court.

“This ruling impacts on every single part of the United Kingdom, ” he said, adding that the judgement “has the potential to set a wide reaching precedent across all of our nation.”