SDLP Brexit Spokesperson Matthew O’Toole has said the British Government must take notice of growing support for the Northern Ireland Protocol.
He was speaking after a Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) poll showed 52% of people now view the protocol as “a good thing” for the North, while a similar proportion believe the UK would be unjustified in invoking Article 16.
The survey also showed that the SDLP are the local party most trusted by the public on the protocol.
The South Belfast MLA said:
“Despite attempts by the British Government and DUP to present Northern Ireland as up in arms over the Protocol, and despite the associated wall of distortion, exaggeration and threat, it is clear that a growing number of people here support the protections offered by the Protocol – and see the economic opportunities of dual market access.
“Given the substantive proposals from the EU around smoothing goods movements from GB into NI, it would be unthinkable for the UK Government – which emerges from this poll as wholly distrusted in NI - to continue to stoke instability. They should move quickly to agreement with the EU rather than picking ideological fights with the EU over the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, an issue which this polling shows is of minimal concern to people here.
“Businesses in the North have also been clear from the start of this process that they want to retain the unique benefits afford by the Protocol and that is also reflected in this poll. To throw away the potential of real economic advantage would be unthinkable.”