The leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, has said that a deal allowing the return of power-sharing in Northern Ireland is still possible in the coming days.
Donaldson expressed optimism about the progress made in talks with the UK Government on the Northern Ireland Protocol, stating that “lines have been crossed” by the EU side that it had previously refused to consider.
However, he noted that Brussels must accept that goods traded within Northern Ireland are subject to UK laws and standards, not those of the EU, if there is to be an agreement that allows his party to return to power-sharing at Stormont.
Donaldson stated that he believes the outstanding issues could be resolved within the next few days, given the level of progress that has been made and the principles that have already been agreed.
He added that his party would need to see a legal text before they could agree to support any new agreement.
Members of the Tory Eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG) have warned that they would not support an agreement in a Commons vote unless it is acceptable to the DUP.
The UK Government believes that a deal could be struck soon but acknowledged that it would slip to next week if not concluded by the one-year anniversary of the start of the Ukrainian conflict on Friday.