Ulster Unionist leader, Steve Aiken OBE MLA, has stated that the Assembly should be meeting to send a clear message to the UK Government that the huge problems created by the border in the Irish Sea need to be addressed.
Mr Aiken said:
“I find it remarkable that whilst Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP has tabled an urgent oral question in Westminster to address the horrendous disruption to trade created by the border in the Irish Sea, his colleagues in the Northern Ireland Assembly don`t think it urgent enough to be discussed on the floor of the Assembly chamber this week. The Ulster Unionist Party tabled a petition to recall the Assembly from its Christmas recess last Friday because it is not due to meet until Monday 18 January. It smacks of a lack of urgency.
“I am not surprised that parties which called for the rigorous implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol won`t sign the recall petition, but I am disappointed that the DUP, the party which held the balance of power at Westminster when Boris Johnson was negotiating his deal with the EU, have failed to do so.
“The current situation is totally unacceptable and the Northern Ireland Assembly should be sending a clear message to the EU and the UK Government that derogations should be in place for a period of at least twelve months to protect our economy.”