In a warning against any temporary agreement with the EU, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson encouraged Rishi Sunak to “get this done, and done properly.”
In order to break the impasse over obtaining a Brexit withdrawal deal, the UK and EU came to an agreement on the protocol in 2019.
The DUP leader said that the framework under which the EU imposes trade regulations on Northern Ireland must stop.
In order to assist the return to the devolved institutions before the anniversary of the Good Friday/Belfast peace deal on April 25, both London and Brussels are eager to achieve a settlement.
The Northern Ireland Agreement Bill, a draught law proposed by the government, would allow ministers to unilaterally revoke the protocol without Brussels’ approval.
Mr Donaldson said: “I certainly think that the Protocol Bill gives the Government significant leverage, as does in fact the approaching anniversary of the Belfast agreemen.”
“Good Friday 1998, 25 years on and here we are, none of the political institutions established under that agreement are functioning properly, and that’s down to the harm caused to the Northern Ireland economy and to political stability in Northern Ireland, without a single unionist supporting the protocol elected to the Assembly in the elections last year in May.
“So, the Government has that leverage, but it is, I think, regrettable that they’ve been unable to proceed with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.
“I’ve said to the Prime Minister that in the event that agreement is not reached with the EU, then he needs to press on (with the Bill) and the Government needs to make good on the commitments they have given to the people of Northern Ireland to resolve this issue.”