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The requirement that the leading unionist and nationalist parties have an effective veto on devolution was introduced in the 2006 St. Andrew's agreement which was an attempt to revive the institutions after the DUP had withdrawn support. Essentially it was deemed that without the support of the two extreme and major parties, there was a risk of violence and instability returning.

The risk now is that without any prospect of a return to devolution, centrist voters will lose patience and swing all the way over to demanding a border poll now. So there is a logic, from a conservative unionist point of view, of removing the veto and enabling the devolved institutions to function with the DUP in opposition.

Obviously this would have to be done with DUP support, and relations between the UK and Irish governments are now so bad any agreement is unlikely. Hardline unionists probably prefer the prospect of direct rule from London to a Sinn Fein First Minister taking office in Belfast. Indeed many feel the DUP is just using their dislike of the Protocol as an excuse to keep Sinn Fein out of office.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 7th, 2022 at 10:37:04 AM EST
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