Jamie Bryson and Ian Paisley’s unionist think tank rejects Windsor Framework

A new report from a unionist think tank has urged unionists not to support the Windsor Framework in its present form.

DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr penned the foreword to the report which is co-authored by the loyalist activist Jamie Bryson.

It concludes that "further concessions or “components” must be “bolted onto the framework".

"It will be for unionists to determine what those concessions should be but until then, the Windsor Framework cannot be supported by unionists as a solution to the protocol," the report by the recently formed Centre for the Union concludes. Mr Paisley is listed as parliamentary chair of the group.

In the paper’s foreword, Mr Paisley writes: ""Our recent history has taught us that we have been bitten hard by the protocol and we should continue to tread cautiously as we advance the cause of the pro-Union people."

He adds: "The concept of any barrier between one part of the UK and another ought never to have been contemplated".

One of the reasons cited in the report for recommending rejection is that it "does not restore and fulfil the Acts of Union 1800”.

The UK Supreme Court has ruled legislation around the withdrawal from Europe and by extension the NI Protocol supersedes the Act of Union.

On Wednesday evening, Mr Paisley said he did not believe the Windsor Framework met his party's seven tests to support a new deal.

Mr Paisley, speaking to the BBC on Wednesday evening, said: "Does it answer and satisfy all of our seven tests? It is very clear it doesn't," The "most obvious", he added, was the role of EU law and the European courts.

A DUP spokesman said: "Ian Paisley, as he indicated, was speaking as chair of the Centre for the Union rather than the DUP.”

The DUP's seven tests on the protocol
The DUP's seven tests on the protocol

Former SDLP MLA and Stormont minister Nichola Mallon, the new head in the north of Logistics UK, the hauliers' trade group, said: “There is a lot of detail in this, but if I was take to an initial, simplistic view in terms of the assessment of our members, certainly those who trade on an all island basis, have given a positive welcome to the Windsor Framework because it protects our island economy but it’s giving access to both the UK and EU markets.

“But there is a good degree of caution because (our members) want to look through how the green and red lanes operate, for example we need more information around declaration specifics and issues around carrying a mixed load.”