Northern Ireland

Lord Frost accused of seeking to undermine north's electoral process

Former Brexit minister Lord Frost. Picture by Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Former Brexit minister Lord Frost. Picture by Peter Byrne/PA Wire

FORMER Brexit minister Lord Frost has been accused of seeking to undermine the electoral process by arguing that the British government should consider calling a Stormont election ahead of an assembly vote on the protocol.

He also said the British government "should be prepared to campaign for a no vote" ahead of MLAs deciding whether to give consent for the post-Brexit trade arrangements in 2024.

In a speech in Zurich on Tuesday, Lord Frost said the Tories should make tearing up the protocol a general election campaign promise unless Brussels caves in to British demands to renegotiate the treaty.

He said the EU had to recognise that the protocol was “always temporary” and that it was “not realistic” for the Irish Sea border to last forever.

The former Brexit minister said the British government "will work to end the protocol in the 2024 vote, and that if necessary there will need to be a further Northern Ireland election so that assembly opinion reflects real opinion on the ground at that point".

Sinn Féin's Brexit spokesperson Declan Kearney noted that the Tory peer was "unelected" and said his remarks served to "further expose the (British government's) total lack of commitment" to the Stormont institutions.

"No second assembly election in 2024 at the behest of either Tories or political unionism should be countenanced," the South Antrim MLA said.

"Sinn Féin will oppose any Tory attempt which is designed to undermine the electoral process or continued attempts to hollow out the international law upon which the protocol is premised."

SDLP MLA Matthew O'Toole also claimed Lord Frost had revealed a "contempt for the people of Northern Ireland".

"This Brexiteer who complained about the EU not being democratic is now threatening to subvert our democratic processes to indulge his obsessive fantasies about sovereignty and desperate desire for confrontation with the EU," he said.