In Article 18 of the revised Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland (an annex to the Withdrawal Agreement), the Northern Irish Assembly is given the ability to consent or deny consent for the continuation of EU Single Market regulatory alignment.
If the protocol comes into effect, when will the first vote occur?
Some of Article 18:
One. Within 2 months before the end of both the initial period and any subsequent period, the United Kingdom shall provide the opportunity for democratic consent in Northern Ireland to the continued application of Articles 5 to 10.
Two. For the purposes of paragraph 1, the United Kingdom shall seek democratic consent in Northern Ireland in a manner consistent with the 1998 Agreement. A decision expressing democratic consent shall be reached strictly in accordance with the unilateral declaration made by the United Kingdom on [DATE], including with respect to the roles of the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly.
Five. For the purposes of this Article, the initial period is the period ending 4 years after the end of the transition period. Where the decision reached in a given period was on the basis of a majority of Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly, present and voting, the subsequent period is the 4 year period following that period, for as long as Articles 5 to 10 continue to apply. Where the decision reached in a given period had cross-community support, the subsequent period is the 8-year period following that period, for as long as Articles 5 to 10 continue to apply.