Sir, – In examining the DUP’s seven tests for a resolution of the protocol dispute, Newton Emerson writes: “The DUP has not attempted to add a unionist veto by requiring cross-community majorities” (“Positive movement on protocol a tough sell to unionists who know desperate DUP spin is coming”, Opinion, January 26th).
Not so. The DUP has attempted repeatedly to add a cross-community veto.
In announcing the seven tests, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson makes it clear that cross-community consent is a main party demand: “Over the last 50 years if we have learnt anything in Northern Ireland it is that if our political arrangements are to last then they require support from right across the community. And there is not a single elected representative in any unionist party that supports the Northern Ireland protocol.” Mr Donaldson constantly reiterates that the DUP collapsed devolution because there was no cross-community (read unionist) support for the protocol and that Stormont will not be revived until unionist consent is secured. The five attempts to elect an Assembly speaker all failed because the DUP would not provide cross-community consent while the protocol remains unresolved. The DUP also supports unionism’s judicial proceedings against the protocol, which are currently before the UK supreme court. A major part of the unionist legal case is that the protocol is both a devolved matter and a key decision for which cross-community consent is required.
Adding a unionist veto is central to the DUP’s anti-protocol campaign. – Yours, etc,