Boris Johnson is set to tell Northern Ireland politicians they must “get back to work” and restore power-sharing

Boris Johnson will urge Northern Ireland politicians to get power-sharing back on track as the UK government seeks to break the deadlock with Brussels over post-Brexit trade deals.

The Prime Minister will travel to Belfast on Monday for a series of crisis talks after the DUP blocked the election of a speaker at the Stormont Assembly and prevented it from sitting.

The move drew sharp condemnation from Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Féin – whose party is now the largest in the assembly after elections earlier this month – and other party leaders.

Government sources said Mr Johnson will use a series of private meetings to deliver a “hard message” that the parties must come together to form an Executive and Assembly if problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol are to be resolved.

He is expected to say that while the UK government will “do its part in ensuring political stability”, politicians must “get back to work” so that they can resolve “bread and butter issues” for voters can do.

The DUP fiercely opposes the protocol as it requires controls on goods moving from the UK to Northern Ireland to keep the border with the republic open in line with the Good Friday Agreement.

UK ministers have repeatedly said they will act unilaterally if an agreement cannot be found to lessen the impact of the controls, which have been accused of hitting businesses and fueling post-Brexit community tensions.

Mr Johnson is expected to say in his talks that while his government will “always keep the door open for real dialogue” there will be “a need for action” to protect the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) if nothing changes the EU position.

He will insist his government has never proposed scrapping the protocol and will recognize that there must always be a treaty governing the UK’s relationship with the EU in relation to Northern Ireland to allow for the return of a hard border with the UK prevent republic.

But he will say the GFA’s “delicate balance” has been upset, eroding the historic economic ties between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK and leaving the unionist community feeling their aspirations and identity are threatened.

The Prime Minister will argue that the UK and EU’s “common objective” should be to agree a reformed protocol that can garner “the greatest possible cross-community support” when it faces an approval vote in 2024.

Mr Johnson will also use his visit to ensure delivery of three pre-existing commitments on a language and culture package, to ensure women and girls have access to abortion services and to introduce new measures to deal with the legacy of the past. Boris Johnson is set to tell Northern Ireland politicians they must “get back to work” and restore power-sharing

Fry Electronics Team

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