Northern Ireland news

Orange Order rejects Windsor Framework following consultation on UK/EU protocol deal

The Orange Order has said it rejects the Windsor Framework and has urged the DUP not to return to Stormont unless 'substantial' changes are made to the deal. Picture by Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press
Paul Ainsworth

THE Orange Order has said the Windsor Framework "does not resolve the fundamental concerns" over the Northern Ireland Protocol, claiming that the deal has been "oversold" by the UK.

The loyal order said on Tuesday it had reached its decision on the UK/EU deal over the protocol after consulting with its "membership, political representatives, government and business".

MPs have already backed the Framework's so-called 'Stormont brake' which would allow MLAs to object to new EU law relating to trade in the north after a vote.

The DUP has said it does not support the Windsor Framework, and its MPs were among 29 opposing the Stormont Brake mechanism in the House of Commons, while 515 MPs backed it.

In its statement, the Orange Order said the framework "delivered some limited, but welcome practical adjustments" to the existing protocol.

A spokesperson said the new deal "does not resolve the fundamental concerns which were articulated in the text of the Anti-Protocol Declaration of September 2021."

The order had said in its declaration that the protocol was "delivering an all-Ireland economy" as a result of the Irish Sea border.

"Many aspects of the Windsor Framework have been oversold. The proposed Green Lane is not a frictionless border.

"Substantial levels of bureaucracy which will disadvantage traders, hauliers and consumers remain and trade is clearly not unfettered as within Great Britain. If it were, there would be no need for a Green Lane." the spokesperson said, adding that the deal "continues to treat Northern Ireland as a place apart within the United Kingdom".

The statement called for the UK to create new legislation "which reframes and protects the trading relationship" between NI and Britain, and added that the north would still be "subject to laws made by Europe, and therefore subject to European Courts".

The order added that members "voted unanimously not to support a return to the Stormont Executive until there is substantial and tangible progress which resolves these fundamental issues".

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