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Britain’s Northern Ireland minister has insisted there will be no change in policy regarding post-Brexit trade deals despite the change in prime minister.

Regional elections will be called on Friday, Steve Baker added, unless the Democratic Unionist Party can “stifle” its refusal to return to the power-sharing executive by then.

Speaking at an Anglo-Irish Parliamentary Assembly event in Ireland, Baker said ‘whoever is Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will continue our policy of reaching an agreement acceptable to all parties. “.

Rishi Sunak, who is the favorite to become British prime minister, said during the Conservative Party’s summer leadership campaign that he wanted a negotiated settlement with the EU. However, he remained committed to a bill before the House of Lords that would give London the power to remove key elements of the protocol.

It was unclear whether Baker, who backed Sunak, or Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris, who switched to Sunak on Monday after initially backing Boris Johnson’s return, would keep their jobs.

The Democratic Unionist Party has refused to reinstate the Stormont executive and assembly until it makes sweeping changes to protocol.

But unless the executive is reinstated at one minute past midnight on October 28, the UK has a legal obligation to call new elections in Northern Ireland.

Heaton-Harris said he saw no room to file emergency legislation to change that.

Baker called on the DUP to “just find in themselves to stifle the position they’ve taken – just get into the executive, do it this week and we can avoid an election” and insisted that ” the next Prime Minister will maintain the UK policy on protocol”.

But DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson appeared unmoved.

“When a new Prime Minister is in place, if he wants to see a fully functioning Stormont, he will have to deal with protocol once and for all. Short-term fixes will do Northern Ireland a disservice,’ he said in a message to party members over the weekend.


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