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UK to fast-track laws through Commons on Stormont deal

The UK government aims to fast-track two pieces of legislation through parliament to deliver on the commitments made in its package aimed at restoring power-sharing at Stormont.

It comes a day after the publication of measures that would end routine post-Brexit checks on goods shipped from Britain to final destinations in Northern Ireland.

Democratic Unionist Party leader Jeffrey Donaldson hailed the move as a key concession that will effectively scrap the so-called Irish Sea border for goods destined to remain within the UK, paving the way for an end to his party’s boycott of power-sharing.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris vowed to swiftly bring forward two statutory instruments in the House of Commons.

Today’s motions come as more than 2,500 public sector transport workers across Northern Ireland are taking part in strike action.

They will be on the draft Windsor Framework (Constitutional Status of Northern Ireland) Regulations 2024 and the draft Windsor Framework (Internal Market and Unfettered Access) Regulations 2024.

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson and Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris
hailed the deal after its publication yesterday

One will provide legislative assurances on Northern Ireland’s constitutional position within the UK, with the other delivering the changes to the trading system by amending the Internal Markets Act.

Their passage would clear the way for the DUP to give the green light for a Stormont return.

Mr Heaton-Harris said: “The government is committed to delivering this deal swiftly so we can build a brighter future for Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom.”

MLAs have been put on notice on the prospect of a hastily-recalled sitting.

The expectation is Stormont could be back up and running as soon as Saturday, when the Northern Ireland Assembly chamber at Parliament Buildings would witness the historically significant moment of the appointment of its first nationalist first minister, Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill.

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