Boris Johnson using Northern Ireland Protocol to distract from domestic problems, says Mary Lou McDonald 

Ms McDonald, Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill and other senior party colleagues travelled to London on Tuesday for a round of engagements with UK MPs and peers
Boris Johnson using Northern Ireland Protocol to distract from domestic problems, says Mary Lou McDonald 

Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Féin's president Mary Lou McDonald and Conor Murphy speaking to the media outside the Palace of Westminster in London. Picture: PA

The leader of Sinn Féin has accused Boris Johnson of using the Northern Ireland Protocol controversy to “distract” from his own domestic problems.

Mary Lou McDonald criticised the UK Government’s approach to resolving issues with the post-Brexit trading arrangements during a visit to London to meet with a range of political representatives at Westminster.

Last week, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced an intent to table legislation at Westminster that would scrap parts of the protocol without the approval of the EU.

The UK Government's move came amid the ongoing powersharing impasse at Stormont created by the DUP’s refusal to agree to form a new devolved executive following the recent Assembly election until the so-called Irish Sea border is removed.

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O’Neill speaking to the media outside the Palace of Westminster in London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Ms McDonald, Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill and other senior party colleagues travelled to London on Tuesday for a round of engagements with UK MPs and peers.

The meetings came as the Boris Johnson continued to face calls for his resignation over the Downing Street lockdown parties furore.

“We’re making the case very strongly on the urgency of need to establish the executive,” Ms McDonald told reporters at Westminster.

We’re now three weeks from the election and yet people still don’t have government.

“We’re very conscious that we’re living through a cost-of-living crisis and it’s only going to get more acute as we head into the autumn and the winter.”

Ms McDonald leader criticised Mr Johnson's bid to override the protocol he agreed with the EU.

“We’ve made the case very clearly that Boris Johnson needs to stop playing games, stop using Ireland as either a bargaining chip in this confrontation with the European system, or indeed as a distraction in his domestic affairs,” she said.

“We need good faith. We need Boris Johnson and his government to act honourably.

“Above all else, we need a very resolute international community that is determined to protect the progress of the Good Friday Agreement and peace in Ireland.”

Ms McDonald added: “We don’t believe that any political figure can be given anywhere to hide. We need the executive formed. 

"This is a matter of urgency and the idea that anybody within the British system would give cover to the DUP to prevent the formation of a government for us is unacceptable, and we’re setting that out very, very clearly.”

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