The DUP has warned the British government there is no way they will restore powersharing in the North unless the Northern Ireland Potocol is scrapped.
Following a lengthy stalemate, the European Union and UK resumed talks this week on how to fix problems relating to the post-Brexit trade agreements which introduced checks on goods travelling from Britain to the North.
A day after Ireland and the UK signalled an improved mood in talks, DUP members gathered at the party's annual conference said they feared being let down by London again after being promised there would be no checks when the Brexit deal was struck.
"The [British] government needs to tread sensitively and act wisely if they wish to see unionist confidence rebuilt and the conditions created for durable powersharing," DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said to applause from the crowd of more than 200 delegates.
Perceptions that the protocol erodes Northern Ireland's place in the UK have sparked anger among many in unionist communities.
The DUP resigned its post of first minister in February in protest at the checks and has refused to enter the devolved parliament since elections in May.
The Stormont Assembly cannot function without the DUP's support.
"I don't trust [the UK government] to do the right thing, but I think ultimately they're going to be forced to because there is now a choice to make, it's either the protocol or Stormont. One or the other," Jonathan Craig, a DUP councillor from Lisburn told Reuters.
Describing the protocol as a "heinous imposition," DUP chairman Maurice Morrow said there was no prospect of the party re-entering Stormont unless the protocol is replaced. -Reuters