Social Democratic and Labour Party Leader Colum Eastwood MP has said the DUP cannot be allowed to hold the North to ransom over the Protocol.
Mr Eastwood was speaking after meeting Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney in Belfast on Thursday.
Foyle MP Mr Eastwood said:
“No matter what efforts we see from the EU and the British government to resolve the outstanding issues around the Protocol, the DUP will remain obstinate. The DUP has collapsed the Executive in a desperate attempt to win back voters they are bleeding to other parties ahead of the Assembly election. Faced with their own poor performance over the past five years they have gone for the nuclear option in a last-ditch attempt to save themselves.
“The DUP don’t want a deal, they want further chaos and division because that is the environment in which they thrive and that’s the message I conveyed to Simon Coveney today. People across the North are sick of this kind of politics, we are in the middle of a cost of living crisis, waiting lists are getting longer and our housing situation just keeps getting worse. While families struggle, the DUP focus on the narrow identity politics we long should have left behind us.
“We can’t let the DUP hold our institutions to ransom. People across the North want an Assembly and an Executive working on their behalf to tackle the issues affecting their lives on a daily basis. We have recognised there are a small number of outstanding issues with the Protocol, but the EU has made very generous attempts to address them and we need to see a deal reached. The majority of people here want to keep the Protocol and enjoy the benefits it provides, both the EU and the British government need to realise that the DUP speak for a small number of people here and it’s getting smaller every day.”