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Unionist opposition to the Framework is hardening | Jamie Bryson

The latest polling shows that over 62% of unionists (across all unionist parties) remain steadfast that there should be no return to Stormont until the Protocol Framework is completely removed, even if this means the perm and end of Stormont, should send a clear message to the Government.

We have been repeatedly lectured by the great and the good, including some academics who have told us that unionism actually accept the Framework, with a month of Belfast Agreement propaganda.

There has been stern warnings from Presidents and Prime Ministers, past and present, and resounding cheers in the Whitla Hall of Queen’s as the audience cheered to the rafters every jibe directed at unionists.

We have had the Heaton-Harris and Baker double act - the so-called ‘hardmen’ of Brexit - telling unionism we must compromise, that we must not only accept, but collaborate in the implementation of the subjugation of the Union.

The Centre for the Union called it from the outset; and the unionist position is now hardening. The Windsor Framework does not remove the Protocol, it entrenches it.

Despite all the weeks of propaganda, the unionist position isn’t shifting to one of weak compromise on the Union, but rather to a place of steadfast defiance.

There can never again be power sharing in NI whilst the Acts of Union remain subjugated and in suspension. There is no pathway back, and the DUP’s own base have rightly made that clear, with 79% of DUP supporters making clear there should be no return to Stormont unless the Protocol Framework is completely removed.

The message of strong unionism remains the same: you can have power sharing, or you can have the Protocol, but never both.

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