London, 6 May 2022 – It’s not just a slam to the Tories in mainland Britain. Sinn Féin, the party that want the British rule to end in Northern Ireland has now prevailed in today’s local elections and looks is set to place a Prime Minister in Stormont soon.
After 100 years the pro-British Unionists lost control and this will have an immediate impact on the contested post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol imposing a virtual custom barrier in the Irish sea in order for trade to flow between EU and UK.
The pro-British rule DUP, the Unionist party former ally of the Tories until December 2019 elections, is also in collision course with the Tories as facing all the issues created by the post-Brexit Protocol, though it didn’t oppose Brexit, while Independentists supported remain the side and opposed Brexit.
Sinn Féin victory is therefore highly significant to the point that Boris Johnson, who weeks ago emphatically waived a bullish a unilateral review of the contested Protocol with the EU, today, answering to journalists on the change of power in Stormont, used a moderate tone to say that “The most important thing is we continue to support the balance of Good Friday Agreement; we gonna have a cross community support”.
The Protocol, along with major local issues such as housing and cost of life, draw votes towards Sinn Fein, the party historically linked to IRA, the Irish Republican Army behind the Troubles in the 90s, which ended with the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
With Sinn Féin in Stormont the pressure on the Tories is now double: Westminster will have to find points of convergence not just on the Protocol and post-Brexit related issues, but also on structural ones such the resurgent political stance for a United Ireland.
As Irish independentists victory has been forecast over the latest weeks, Johnson made a further step back taking out the Protocol ‘coup’ from the upcoming 10th May Queen’s speech and announcing new efforts to improve the Brexit-Agreement with the EU