Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said that his party was “not going to be in the business” of implementing the Protocol, while he warned the Irish Government the Good Friday Agreement was at risk if a satisfactory deal on the issue cannot be reached. Sir Jeffrey also told The Times that he wants to broaden the appeal of unionism around social issues such as gay marriage and stated that his party must be “inclusive”.
The news comes after Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, rejected a call to renegotiate the post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland during a phone call with Boris Johnson.
Ms Von der Leyen said that Brussels would “be creative and flexible” over the Protocol “but will not renegotiate”.
The Northern Ireland Protocol had been designed to avoid border checks on the island.
The trading arrangements between Britain and Northern Ireland have caused a significant amount of tension in unionist and loyalist communities.
They argue the current checks damage the constitutional integrity of the region within the UK.
Sir Jeffrey stated that a compromise on the arrangement was possible and argued that a Northern Ireland executive should be present in talks between London and Brussels.
The leader of the DUP also added that the party does not “trust” Boris Johnson after he agreed to the Protocol, which was seen as a betrayal of unionism.
Mr Donaldson said: “We have to take our own view on these things.”
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Sir Jeffrey was elected as the leader of the DUP at the end of June after a tough period for his party.
After Arlene Foster was ousted earlier this year, Edwin Poots was chosen to lead the DUP.
However, he was stripped down from the title 21 days after being appointed.
Sir Jeffrey, who is a Westminster MP, was then elected.
He is expected to become First Minister when a seat becomes available in the Northern Ireland assembly.
The Times has also reported that “senior government sources say that his approval will be critical in endorsing any compromise with Brussels”.
However, recent polls have suggested the DUP could be overtaken by Sinn Fein in elections next year as Northern Ireland’s largest party.
Experts have claimed that if the First Minister’s job is given to the republicans it will lead to a collapse of power-sharing.
Sir Jeffrey, meanwhile, said that it was his job to move the party back to the centre-ground when it comes to social issues.