Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Johnson to tell Northern Ireland’s politicians: ‘Get back to work’

Stormont has been unable to sit after the DUP blocked the election of a Speaker (PA)
Stormont has been unable to sit after the DUP blocked the election of a Speaker (PA)

Boris Johnson will urge Northern Ireland’s politicians to get powersharing back up and running as the Government seeks to resolve the deadlock with Brussels over post-Brexit trading arrangements.

The Prime Minister will travel to Belfast on Monday for a series of crisis talks after the DUP blocked the election of a Speaker at the Stormont Assembly, preventing it from sitting.

The move was bitterly condemned by Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill – whose party is now the biggest in the Assembly following elections earlier this month – and other party leaders.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will head to Belfast for crunch talks on Monday (Victoria Jones/PA)

Government sources said Mr Johnson will use a series of private meetings to deliver a “tough message” that parties must come together to form an Executive and Assembly if the problems with the protocol are to be fixed.

He is expected to say that while the UK Government will “play its part to ensure political stability”, politicians must “get back to work” so they can deliver on “bread and butter issues” for the voters.

The DUP is bitterly opposed to the protocol as it requires checks on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, in order to keep the border with Republic open in line with the Good Friday Agreement.

Sinn Fein's Michelle O’Neill leaves the Northern Ireland Assembly chamber with the SDLP’s Sinead McLaughlin
Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill, centre, has condemned the DUP’s stance (Liam McBurney/PA)

UK ministers have repeatedly said they will act unilaterally if an agreement cannot be found to reduce the impact of the checks, which have been blamed for hitting businesses and fuelling community tensions.

In his talks, Mr Johnson is expected to say that while the Government “will always keep the door open to genuine dialogue”, there will be “a necessity to act” to protect the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) if there is no change in the EU position.

He will insist the Government has never suggested scrapping the protocol and will acknowledge there will always have to be a treaty governing the UK’s relationship with the EU in respect of Northern Ireland in order to prevent the return of a hard border with the Republic.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson
Sir DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said his party had sent a ‘clear message’ that the protocol must change (Liam McBurney/PA)

However he will say the “delicate balance” of the GFA has been upset, eroding the historic economic bonds linking Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, leaving the unionist community feeling like its aspirations and identity are threatened.

The Prime Minister will argue that the UK and EU’s “shared objective” should be to agree a reformed protocol which can command “the broadest possible cross-community support” when it faces a consent vote in 2024.

Mr Johnson will also use his visit to guarantee the delivery of three pre-existing commitments on a language and culture package, ensuring women and girls have access to abortion services, and introducing new measures to deal with the legacy of the past.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]