Newton Emerson: Donaldson must reconcile unionism to the protocol

As Sinn Féin paints itself as the responsible party, new DUP leader must spot the danger

The incoming DUP leader Sir Jeffery Donaldson has called on the British government and EU to "step up and recognise the flaws of the Protocol." Video: DUP/ Reuters

Everyone is exhausted with the DUP’s drama, including the DUP. Newly crowned leader Jeffrey Donaldson is benefiting from a peace process-type moment of public and political relief. His party, split down the middle two weeks ago, is united behind him. Nobody wants to argue over Irish language legislation and everyone is pretending its guaranteed passage, be that through Westminster or Stormont, completes the deal last year to restore devolution. In reality, the deal remains largely undelivered.

Every party in the Executive is calling for a period of calm and consolidation. Many are also calling on Donaldson to leave First Minister Paul Givan in post, just to avoid the fuss of replacing him. When it emerged last month that Givan might be nominated by Donaldson’s predecessor, Edwin Poots, the same parties were aghast.

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