Last week I indicated that while significant progress had been secured in the Windsor Framework across a number of areas it does not deal with some of the fundamental problems at the heart of our current difficulties.
It is our party view that there remain key areas of concern which require further clarification, re-working and change as well as seeing further legal text.
There is no doubt it is vital that the Northern Ireland Assembly must have at its disposal democratic mechanisms that are effective in law and which underscore the role of the locally elected representatives of the people of Northern Ireland to determine whether amended or new laws are implemented.
Notwithstanding the issues and conditions which have to be met to make the brake work it remains the case that the “brake” is not designed for, and therefore cannot apply, to the EU law which is already in place and for which no consent has been given for its application.
Whilst representing real progress the “brake” does not deal with the fundamental issue which is the imposition of EU law by the Protocol.
Since the announcement that the “Stormont Brake” is to be debated and voted upon in Parliament on Wednesday there have been a number of indications that this vote will be read as indicative of current positions on the wider Windsor Framework package.
Our Party Officers, the only decision-making mechanism in our party on these matters, met this morning and unanimously agreed that in the context of our ongoing concerns and the need to see further progress secured whilst continuing to seek clarification, change and re-working that our Members of Parliament would vote against the draft statutory instrument on Wednesday.
We will continue to work with the Government on all the outstanding issues relating to the Windsor Framework package to try to restore the delicate political balances within Northern Ireland and to seek to make further progress on all these matters.