DUP ‘chaos’ strategy to ‘erode support for union’ with Brexit demands, Alliance MP warns

DUP ‘chaos’ strategy ‘to erode support for union’ in NI says MP

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The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)’s alleged strategy of running down the clock to trigger a new election down the line could backfire on the DUP and reduce support for unionism, an Alliance MP has warned. Speculation has been circulating in the alleys of Northern Ireland’s Stormont Assembly about the DUP wanting to block the Sinn Fein’s Government in order to trigger a new election – and win it.  DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson blocked the formation of a Government by refusing to nominate a speaker, plunging Northern Ireland into a political crisis. Against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis, Alliance Party’s deputy leader Stephen Farry deems the move dangerous.

Mr Farry warned on BBC Newsnight: “Frankly the more chaos there is in Northern Ireland from the unionists’ perspective, and I speak as a cross-community politician, the support for the union will be eroded and create even more uncertainty for Northern Ireland.

“All the other alternatives are less optimal than power-sharing and that message has to be dealt with. 

“The fundamental reality for the DUP is that there is no alternative to governing in Northern Ireland other than through power-sharing.

“The logic has to be, they come back to the table.

When asked about the consequences of the alleged DUP’s strategy of blocking the Government to call a new election, Mr Farry said: “Well, that’s certainly a fear and a danger.

“We have pressing issues around health and the cost of living.

“So, there are issues that have been left on the shelf.”

The DUP has refused to join the power-sharing government amid concerns over the Irish Sea customs border.

Leader Jeffrey Donaldson said it is worsening the cost-of-living crisis and placing Northern Ireland further apart from Great Britain.

In a bid to ease tensions in the DUP, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss set out a new plan that would make changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol and scrap the Irish Sea border.

She added the new bill would not break international law.

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Political turmoil in Northern Ireland comes off the back of a historic election that saw the nationalist Sinn Fein win, putting an end to DUP’s two-decade hold on power.

Sinn Fein secured 27 of the Assembly’s 90 seats while the DUP captured 24 seats.

In response to Secretary Truss’ plan, Sinn Fein President Mary-Lou MacDonald said the UK Government was behaving like a “rogue state.”

Sir Jeffrey said he hoped to see progress on the bill in “days and weeks, not months.”

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