TUV leader Jim Allister: Returning to Stormont to operate the Windsor Framework would only dismantle the union

TUV leader Jim Allister said that if Mr Baker's comments were the government position, then
TUV leader Jim Allister said that if Mr Baker's comments were the government position, then "Stormont is dead" for any principled unionist.Photo by Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye.

​He was speaking after Minister of State Steve Baker said government would not reopen the Windsor Framework in talks with the DUP.

The TUV leader said Mr Baker’s commitment to the framework probably represents the Government’s definitive position. If so, Mr Allister added: “...then, for any principled unionist, Stormont is dead, and so it ought to be, because to operate it now is to implement the Union-dismantling Protocol in all its parts.

“Let no Unionist forget what the Protocol does: by putting us under the EU’s Customs Code it operates on the basis that GB is a foreign country - hence the EU controlled Irish Sea border to check its goods; by retaining us in the EU’s Single Market for goods it means our economy and trade are governed by foreign laws which Stormont, colony like, would have to implement; it forces economic divergence and detachment from GB in pursuit of building the stepping stone of an all-Ireland economy; and, as the Supreme Court confirmed, it puts the key pillar of the Union (Article 6 of the Acts of Union) in perpetual suspension.”

He also rejected the UUP view that change can be wrought from within the Executive, arguing that Sinn Fein and Alliance Party would veto such efforts.

He added: “It is only by staying out of Stormont that it affords any leverage, but even if it didn’t, going in is impossible, surely, for any unionist who recognises the Protocol for the Union-dismantling instrument it is. There is nothing impossible about the sovereign government of the UK exercising sovereignty over its own territory."

The Northern Ireland Office said it had nothing to add to Mr Baker’s interview.

Loyalist activist Jamie Bryson responded to Mr Baker on social media. "You can have power sharing or the Protocol/ Framework, never both,” he said. “Read the polls, unionism - despite the propaganda campaign of Prime Ministers, Presidents and the sterling efforts of you and Chris Heaton Harris - is hardening. Restore the Acts of Union.”