Politics latest: PM warned against starting 'full blown trade war' with EU; Starmer being investigated by standards commissioner

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Stephen Murphy, Ireland correspondent

Boris Johnson would dearly love DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to skip gleefully back into Stormont with a copy of the new bill in his back pocket and the “protocol problem” sorted.

It would give the embattled prime minister a resounding win.

As the restorer of Stormont and protector of the peace process, he could revel in an immediate reward for his bold unilateral move on Northern Ireland.  

Unfortunately that isn’t going to happen – at least, not for the foreseeable future. 

Sir Jeffrey made it clear to me and other media colleagues that his party would not be railroaded back into power sharing. 

The DUP will pick over this bill and its provisions and set them against its “seven tests” on the protocol. 

Then, and only then, might the party feel suitably reassured to enter a new executive. 

As for Sinn Fein, the frustration is palpable. 

They can call this move illegal as often as they want, but they are Westminster outsiders and they know that, fundamentally, a way out of this “mess”, as Michelle O’Neill has described it, lies somewhere between London and Brussels.