Northern Ireland First Minister Paul Givan 'intends to resign' as part of DUP protest

Norther Ireland’s First Minister has said he intends to announce his resignation, according to a Democrat Unionist Party source.

The resignation may come as early as Thursday but a senior DUP source said it is expected to be at least the end of this week.

The move comes as part of the DUP protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The protocol is part of the Brexit deal that applies to Northern Ireland.

Paul Givan Norther Ireland’s First Minister has said he intends to announce his resignation, according to a Democrat Unionist Party source.

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The resignation would also lead to Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill losing her position.

In those circumstances, other ministers in the administration could still remain in place. However, the Executive could not make any significant decisions.

That would prevent the coalition from agreeing a three-year budget – a spending plan that is currently out for public consultation.

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DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has repeatedly threatened to bring down the Stormont institutions in protest against the so-called Irish Sea border, introduced as part of the post-Brexit protocol.

It also follows Edwin Poots’s decision to order a halt to agri-food checks at Northern Ireland’s ports.

An EC spokesperson said: “The European Commission has been working tirelessly with the UK Government to address practical challenges related to the implementation of the protocol.

“The decision by the Northern Irish Minister for Agriculture (Edwin Poots) is therefore unhelpful.

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“It creates further uncertainty and unpredictability for businesses and citizens in Northern Ireland.

“The European Commission will closely monitor developments in Northern Ireland pursuant to this announcement.

“Vice-president Maros Sefcovic will speak to the UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss on Thursday afternoon to continue our discussions on finding durable solutions for the people of Northern Ireland.

“He will recall that controls on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from Great Britain are a key element of the protocol.

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“They are necessary for Northern Irish business and citizens to continue to benefit from access to the single market for goods.

“They are also necessary to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.”

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