Are the DUP giving up on their 7 tests?

According to this morning’s Nolan Show, the DUP have given up on their 7 tests. For a reminder, they were:

  • They include no new checks of any sort on goods being traded between GB and NI. That excludes pre-Brexit checks on livestock and goods which are moving onwards from NI.
  • Compatibility with the Act of Union which says all parts of the UK should be on equal footing when it comes to trade
  • Avoiding any diversion of trade where NI customers are forced to switch to non-GB suppliers
  • No border in the Irish Sea
  • NI citizens to have a role in any new regulations which impact them
  • No new regulatory barriers between GB and NI unless agreed by the NI Assembly
  • Honouring the ‘letter and spirit’ of NI’s constitutional position as set out in the Good Friday Agreement by requiring upfront consent of any diminution in constitutional status

Every time I hear about the 7 tests I am reminded of The 12 Labours of Hercules. Imaginating Sir Jeff in a loin cloth and brandishing a sword while slaying the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra always puts a smile on my face.

Over in the BelTel UUP leader Doug Beattie gives his views on the situation:

If the DUP don’t do a deal before Christmas, what is the plan?
There has been a lot of talk of a ‘Plan B’ if there is no return to an Executive this year but, as yet, what this would look like has not been spelled out.

Peter Robinson has been giving his thoughts on the way forward, and they align with what I have been saying for quite some time.

I believe if there is no devolved government come 2024, we will fall under a diluted direct rule from Westminster where the Dublin Government will have increased input and will be consulted more on the actions that govern Northern Ireland.

Peter Robinson is right: no negotiation gives all that is wanted. The inability of the DUP to sell the Stormont Brake, which they negotiated, shows the fine line between success and failure. It also shows there are those who will never accept any form of compromise, focused instead on doing all they can to spoil any form of deal.

That Peter has had to enter the fray at this stage highlights the current division within the DUP.

In repeating largely what I have been saying for almost two years, he is providing a clear indication that there is little road left for further negotiations between his former party and the government at Westminster.

Like Peter, I believe we have come as far as we can in negotiations in the short-term. The boycott of Stormont has not worked; instead it has damaged not only our place within the Union and our economic future, but has placed unacceptable financial burden on so many across Northern Ireland.

It is now time to use the mechanisms contained within devolved government to create more movement on dealing with the Windsor Framework, otherwise we leave our future in the hands of those who just do not care.


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