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Boris Johnson will urge Northern Ireland politicians to put power-sharing back on track as the government seeks to resolve the impasse with Brussels over post-Brexit trade deals.

The Prime Minister will travel to Belfast on Monday for a series of crisis talks after the DUP blocked the election of a Speaker in the Stormont Assembly, preventing him from sitting.

The move was bitterly condemned by Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill, whose party is now the largest in the Assembly following elections this month, and other party leaders.

Read more: Boris Johnson to visit Northern Ireland amid political crisis

Government sources said Johnson will use a series of private meetings to send a “hard message” that the parties must come together to form an Executive and an Assembly if problems with the protocol are to be resolved.

He is expected to say that while the UK government will “play its part in ensuring political stability”, politicians must “get back to work” in order to deliver on “basic issues” for voters.

The DUP is bitterly opposed to the Northern Ireland Protocol, as it requires controls on goods moving from Britain to Northern Ireland, to keep the border with the Republic open in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement.

UK ministers have repeatedly said they will act unilaterally if no agreement can be reached to reduce the impact of the controls, which are blamed for hurting business and fueling community tensions.

In their talks, Johnson is expected to say that while the government will “always keep the door open for genuine dialogue”, there will be “a need to act” to protect the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) if there is no change in the position of the EU.

He will insist that the Government never suggested scrapping the protocol and will acknowledge that there will always need to be a treaty governing the UK’s relationship with the EU with respect to Northern Ireland to prevent the return of a hard border with the Republic.

However, he will say the GFA’s “delicate balance” has been upset, eroding the historic economic ties that bind Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, leaving the Unionist community feeling that its aspirations and identity are threatened.

The prime minister will argue that the “shared goal” of the UK and the EU should be to agree a reformed protocol that can garner “the widest possible cross-community support” when it faces a consent vote in 2024.

Johnson will also use his visit to ensure compliance with three pre-existing commitments on a language and culture package, ensuring women and girls have access to abortion services, and introducing new measures to deal with the legacy of the past.

Read more:A ‘first day at school’ feeling for new MLAs, but how long will the term last?

Read more:Analysis: Voters Sent MLAs a Clear Message…Now Make Stormont Work

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Reference-www.belfastlive.co.uk

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