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What are the DUP’s ‘seven tests’ as party says it has not seen any detail on Northern Ireland Protocol

It comes after UUP peer Reg Empey said the DUP were ‘at the mercy’ of the negotiations.


East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson

Speculation that a Brexit deal reported to be completed within the next fortnight meets the DUP’s seven tests is “spin”, East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has said.

Sources close to the negotiations have indicated that an announcement is close, with a potential deal ready to meet the DUP’s ‘seven tests’ on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Mr Wilson said it was up to his party to be the “final arbiters” on whether any deal meets the conditions laid down by DUP leader  Jeffrey Donaldson in 2021.

"There is much speculation about the deal which the PM is concluding with the EU, with the accompanying spin that it meets the DUPs seven tests,” he said.

“The DUP have not seen any details regarding the deal but the DUP will be the final arbiters as to whether or not it meets our 7 tests. Of course, it must also meet the Government’s own tests and promises made in the NI Protocol Bill.

“The fundamental issue to be dealt with is the democratic deficit and the constitutional damage done by the imposition of EU law. If this is not dealt with then the deal will fall short of what is required to restore the political institutions.”

Ulster Unionist peer Lord Empey however has poured scorn on the DUP’s approach and said you could ‘drive a coach and horses’ through their seven demands.

"One could continue to manufacture 'tests' but nothing will conceal the truth that we are in this mess because we left the EU without proper preparation and have fallen victim to a terrible negotiation conducted between 2016 and 2019,” he said.

"It is a shame that the DUP didn't apply tests to Boris Johnson in 2019 when, instead of breaking off support for his government which they were propping up, they fell for his plan to put a border in the Irish Sea. That's when they had real influence and didn't use it.

"Now, instead of being in control of events, they are at the mercy of events. I also think it is wrong that the people of Northern Ireland are subject to collective punishment by closing down Stormont at a time when it could be helping people during the worst cost of living crisis in living memory.”

It comes after UK government sources said a new Brexit deal understood to be ready within a fortnight would meet the DUP’s seven red lines.

Downing Street is set to declare the new Brexit deal reached with the EU will meet all seven of the conditions set by the DUP for the renegotiation in the hope of restarting power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

During talks in Brussels the UK team have encouraged the EU to agree terms that will be seen to meet the demands laid out by some unionists in Northern Ireland.

Briefings detailing how each of the DUP’s red lines are met by the new terms of trade are expected to be issued alongside the announcement, with a well-placed source telling The Telegraph that ‘it meets all seven tests’.

Both negotiating teams are hoping the move can convince the DUP to end its protest over power-sharing at Stormont and restore devolved government in Northern Ireland.

The extent to which back channels between Downing Street and the DUP leadership have been used remains unclear, but it is understood the DUP have not been formally presented with full details of the new deal yet.

What are the DUP’s seven tests?

The DUP laid out their seven tests in July 2021. They demanded that any new arrangements must:

  1. Fulfil Article 6 of the Act of Union
  2. Avoid any diversion of trade
  3. Not constitute a border in the Irish Sea
  4. Give the people of NI a say in making laws that govern them
  5. Result in ‘no checks on goods going from NI to GB or from GB to NI’ (and remaining in NI)
  6. Ensure no new regulatory borders develop between NI and the rest of the UK
  7. Preserve the letter and spirit of NI’s constitutional guarantee in the Belfast Agreement by requiring consent from a majority of its citizens for any diminution of its status as part of the UK

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