Northern Ireland news

DUP accused of “talking out of both sides of its mouth” after Poots protocol letter

The DUP's Edwin Poots. Picture by Mark Marlow/PA Wire.

THE DUP has been accused of “talking out of both sides of its mouth” after it emerged former leader Edwin Poots had lobbied the British government to dilute part of its legislation aimed at overriding the Northern Ireland Protocol. It has emerged

Mr Poots wrote to the British government last year in his role as Stormont agriculture minister, describing a plan to disapply an approach to farmers’ subsidies resulting from the protocol as “unacceptable”.

The proposed change is contained in the British government’s NI Protocol Bill to override the controversial arrangement that keeps the north under EU single market rules.

The ex-DUP leader had spoken of the “significant policy flexibility” the protocol offered farmers in the north, despite his party’s demands that the protocol be scrapped in order for the party to end its boycott of Stormont.

The letter has led to accusations of “cherry picking” by Mr Poots who claimed he had “reasonably suggested one change” to the British government legislation that is currently making its way through Westminster.

Publicly, Mr Poots has suggested that he’d rather “eat grass” than be pressurised financially to accept the Northern Ireland protocol. Sinn Féin MP John Finucane said: “The DUP are talking from both sides of their mouth on the protocol.”

Northern Ireland news