As tensions in Parliament over the Brexit deal grew, Theresa May rejected proposals for the UK government to make adjustments to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
On Tuesday, Theresa May spoke out in Parliament to caution Boris Johnson against dismantling the Northern Ireland Protocol. The former Prime Minister said unequivocally that any unilateral action by the UK government to deal with the Protocol without first reaching an agreement with Brussels is unacceptable.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson of the DUP interrupted Mrs May’s warning to the Prime Minister, arguing that the current Brexit debate between the EU and the UK over Northern Ireland needed to be addressed.
Following the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday, Mrs May informed MPs: “I noticed that there was no reference to what has been referred to in the papers as a bill in relation to, and I’m going to use the word, the Northern Ireland Protocol and possibly to varying the terms of the treaty unilaterally.
“Can I say to [Boris Johnson] and he will not be surprised if I say this, that I do not feel that that would be the right move for the Government.
“I think the government needs to consider not just some immediate issues, but also the wider sense of what such a move would say about the United Kingdom and its willingness to abide by treaties which it has signed.”
As he listened to his predecessor in Number 10 from the Conservative frontbench, the Prime Minister shook his head.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the leader of the DUP, spoke up during her speech and said that the protocol “needs to be dealt with” and was “undermining political stability in Northern Ireland.”
Mrs. May, on the other hand, stated that her Brexit deal satisfied the “requirements of the Good Friday Agreement.”
She responded to Sir Jeffrey by saying: “I put a deal before this House which actually met the requirements of the Good Friday Agreement and actually enabled us not to have a border down the Irish Sea or to have a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
“Sadly the DUP and others across this House chose to reject that, but it was just such an opportunity for what he [Sir Jeffrey] wanted.”