British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on the parties in Northern Ireland to form a government of national unity. In elections to regional parliament, residents of the part of the country that belongs to the UK made it clear that politics should focus on issues of daily life such as schools, hospitals and the rising cost of living, Johnson wrote in a guest article in the Belfast Telegraph.
“Election of the Speaker of Parliament. Government formation. Get to work,” Johnson continued. The Conservative politician is due to arrive in Belfast later today for talks with representatives of the major parties.
Britain’s exit from the European Union causes political deadlock
The dispute over the special status of Brexit in Northern Ireland is currently causing political paralysis there. The Protestant party DUP refuses to elect a speaker to Parliament. Nor does the unionist party want to join a unity government with Catholic republican Sinn Fein as long as the dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol, part of the Brexit treaty, remains unresolved.
DUP asks Johnson to unilaterally suspend the protocol. The government in London is expected to introduce a bill to Parliament later this week that could undermine parts of the protocol. The European Union warned against such a unilateral move that would have consequences.
The Northern Ireland Protocol aims to avoid border controls between Northern Ireland and the European Union member Republic of Ireland. This is to prevent violent conflict between supporters and opponents of Irish unity from erupting again. Instead, a customs border was now established between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Therefore, supporters of the Union fear alienation from London.
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