On Thursday Cabinet Office Minister Lord Frost announced European laws on the UK statute book will be repealed or amended, unless they benefit UK citizens. However, this will not apply to Northern Ireland, which remains more closely tied to Brussels.
Under the terms of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, Northern Ireland remains aligned with the European single market.
This was done to safeguard the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, by ensuring there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
However, it resulted in some restrictions on trade between Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK.
This has infuriated unionists, with the DUP threatening to collapse the Stormont administration “within weeks” unless the EU makes concessions.
Anger over the Northern Ireland Protocol, which introduced the checks, has sparked unionist protests and was partially blamed for a wave of loyalist rioting across the province earlier this year.
The UK and EU have agreed to delay the introduction of some checks, but unionists are demanding they are cancelled in their entirety.
Express.co.uk readers responded with fury to confirmation the repeal of EU laws won’t fully apply to Northern Ireland.
Jonjo wrote: “It is a COMPLETE DISGRACE that Northern Ireland is being treated differently from the rest of the UK.”
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Maximum Effort stated: “Fully dismantling 40 years of EU laws was always going to be a 5 to 10 years project, never done in just 12 months.”
However, hostility towards the EU’s position on Northern Ireland wasn’t universally held.
Retsdon wrote: “Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU, so retaining some EU laws is hardly a breach of their democratic rights.”
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP leader, has threatened to walk away from Stormont power-sharing arrangements “within weeks” unless Brussels is ready to compromise.
The DUP has also vowed to block any additional Northern Irish checks on trade with Great Britain.
Sir Jeffrey said: “If our ministers cannot in the end prevent these checks taking place and if the protocol issues remain then I have to be clear, the position in office of DUP ministers would become untenable.
“If the choice is ultimately between remaining in office or implementing the protocol in its present form then the only option, the only option for any unionist minister would be to cease to hold such office.
“Within weeks it will become clear if there is a basis for the Assembly and Executive to continue in this current mandate.”
On Friday around 350 people gathered on the Newtownards Road, in east Belfast, against the Northern Ireland protocol.
They waved Union Jacks and banners calling for the protocol to be scrapped.