[ad_1]

Rishi Sunak boasted that he has completed Brexit tonight as he ran the gauntlet of the Commons after striking a new deal for Northern Ireland.

The PM said the government had ‘now taken back control’ as he made a statement to MPs about the package finalised with EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Hailing the ‘decisive breakthrough’ of the ‘Windsor Framework’ – named after the location of their final talks – Mr Sunak said proudly: ‘It goes beyond all doubt that we have now taken back control.’

He promised ‘smooth flow of trade’ between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland, with UK VAT, customs and medicines rules applying in the province. 

As a result Mr Sunak said they had removed ‘any sense of a border in the Irish Sea’. 

He argued that the minimum of EU rules would be followed to avoid a hard border with the Republic – European judges staying as the final arbiter on those. 

But a ‘Stormont Brake’ will mean laws cannot be forced on the province if opposed by 30 assembly members from at least two parties. If the threshold is met they can ask the UK government to wield a veto. 

Mr Sunak insisted the settlement can open a ‘new chapter’ in ties with Brussels, although he acknowledged the DUP will want to ‘consider the detail’ and the government will ‘give them time and space to do that’. 

There were bombshell rumours this afternoon that unionists are ready to shift position and accept the agreement. That would pave the way for the restoration of powersharing at Stormont. 

Party leader Jeffrey Donaldson played down the claims in the Irish News. And in a statement this evening he gave a careful welcome – highlighting ‘progress’ but pointing out there was ‘no disguising the fact that in some sectors of our economy EU law remains applicable in Northern Ireland’.

Other DUP MPs were overtly sceptical, with Ian Paisley saying the new proposals do not ‘cut the mustard’.  

The PM’s allies are waiting nervously to see how Boris Johnson will react to the revised terms, with fears he could intervene in the debate. But he did not appear to be in the chamber tonight.

The premier declared that a Commons vote will be held – but suggested it might not happen quickly. The government has declared it will drop the NI Protocol Bill as part of the overhaul, against the wishes of many Eurosceptics. Ms von der Leyen suggested that the UK will now be allowed into the Horizon science scheme. 

Rishi Sunak made a statement to MPs after joining the EU commission president to unveil the package - the result of months of tortuous negotiations

Rishi Sunak made a statement to MPs after joining the EU commission president to unveil the package – the result of months of tortuous negotiations

Rishi Sunak (left) said he and Ursula von der Leyen (right) had achieved a ‘decisive breakthrough’ and forged a ‘Windsor Framework’ – named after the location of their talks

Rishi Sunak has thrashed out a 'Stormont lock' designed to give Northern Ireland a say – but not a veto – over new EU trade laws that will continue to apply

Rishi Sunak has thrashed out a ‘Stormont lock’ designed to give Northern Ireland a say – but not a veto – over new EU trade laws that will continue to apply 

Ms von der Leyen and Mr Sunak held around an hour and 45 minutes of talks in Windsor today

Ms von der Leyen and Mr Sunak held around an hour and 45 minutes of talks in Windsor today

Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker was in Downing Street again today, amid rumours that whips have put him on 'resignation watch'

Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker was in Downing Street again today, amid rumours that whips have put him on ‘resignation watch’

The Windsor hotel being used as a venue for the talks this afternoon

The Windsor hotel being used as a venue for the talks this afternoon 

Mr Sunak tweeted ahead of the meeting with Ms von der Leyen

Mr Sunak tweeted ahead of the meeting with Ms von der Leyen 

Jeffrey Donaldson tried to cool claims the DUP is ready to back the PM's Brexit deal for NI

Jeffrey Donaldson tried to cool claims the DUP is ready to back the PM’s Brexit deal for NI 

Former Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries dismissed the warm words from Mr Baker

Former Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries dismissed the warm words from Mr Baker

The PM faced down laughter in the Commons as he opened his speech by paying tribute to his predecessors.

Mr Sunak told MPs: ‘I pay tribute to our European friends for recognising the need for change, particularly President (Ursula) von der Leyen, my predecessors for laying the groundwork for today’s agreement…’

The Prime Minister was then interrupted by laughter from the opposition benches, as one Labour MP could be heard shouting: ‘Where’s Boris?’

Mr Sunak continued: ‘And my friends the foreign and Northern Ireland secretaries for their perseverance in finally persuading the EU to do what it spent years refusing to do, to rewrite the treaty and replace it with a radical, legally binding new framework.’

The PM said he believes ‘passionately with my head and my heart’ that the Windsor Framework is the ‘right way forward’.

He told the House: ‘We’ve achieved free-flowing trade with a green lane for goods, no burdensome customs bureaucracy, no routine checks on trade, no paperwork whatsoever for Northern Irish goods moving into Great Britain and no border in the Irish Sea.

‘We’ve protected Northern Ireland’s place in the Union with state aid reach-back fixed, the same tax rules applying everywhere, vet certificates for food lorries gone, the ban on British sausages gone, parcel paperwork gone, pet paperwork gone, garden centres now selling the same trees, supermarkets selling the same food, and pharmacies selling the same medicines.

‘And we’ve safeguarded sovereignty for the people of Northern Ireland with the democratic deficit closed, the Vienna Convention confirmed, thousands of pages of EU law scrapped and with the Stormont brake we have safeguarded democracy and sovereignty for the people of Northern Ireland.

‘So that is the choice before us. Let us seize the opportunity of this moment, the certainty of an agreement that fixes the problems we faced, commands broad support and consensus and offers us, at last, the freedom to move forward together – that is what the people of Northern Ireland deserve, that is what the Windsor Framework delivers.

What is in Rishi’s new ‘Windsor Framework’ for NI? 

Green lanes for trade: 

Goods destined from mainland Britain for Northern Ireland will travel through a new green lane, with a separate red lane for goods at risk of moving on to the EU. 

Food retailers like supermarkets, restaurants and wholesalers will no longer need hundreds of certificates for every lorry and we will end the situation where food made to UK rules could not be sent to and sold in Northern Ireland.

Taking back control of tax: 

The legal text of the of the NI protocol has been altered to make sure the UK has control of VAT and excise duty in Northern Ireland. 

Mr Sunak said the change would reduce alcohol duty ‘meaning our reforms to cut the cost of a pint in a pub will now apply in Northern Ireland’.

Medicines and pets:

UK medicine regulations will apply in Northern Ireland, and there will also be fewer controls on pets be transported to and from mainland Britain. 

Sovereignty guarantee: 

The Stormont Assembly, which has not sat since the DUP withdrew from its power-sharing executive in February last year, will gain new powers over the introduction of new EU trade laws that could have a large impact on trade.

‘As a Conservative, a Brexiteer and a unionist, I believe passionately with my head and my heart that this is the right way forward – right for Northern Ireland, right for our United Kingdom.’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told the Commons: ‘The protocol will never be perfect – it’s a compromise.

‘But I’ve always been clear that if implemented correctly it is an agreement that can work in the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.

‘And now that it has been agreed we all have an obligation to make it work.’

See also  US tourist smashes two ancient Vatican busts after being told he couldn't see Pope Francis

Theresa May also supported the plans, urging politicians from all sides to help end tensions in Northern Ireland. 

Cabinet signed off the plans this afternoon, after the one hour and 45 minute meeting between Mr Sunak and Ms von der Leyen.

Meanwhile, the government is facing a furious backlash for dragging the King into the political pressure-cooker – as Charles will meet Ms von der Leyen separately this afternoon during her visit. 

Brussels has agreed to ditch checks and paperwork on almost all goods and produce sent from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland. Red and green customs channels will be used to distinguish what is bound for the province and the Republic, which remained inside the EU 

Mr Sunak has secured a package that removes 97 per cent of EU law from Northern Ireland.

Although Northern Ireland might still be covered by future EU legislation, there will be a democratic mechanism – a ‘Stormont Brake’ – intended to ensure the province’s politicians have a say.

In one of the potential flashpoints, the European Court of Justice will stay as the final arbiter on single market rules in Northern Ireland. But there will be protections designed to demonstrate that cases cannot be referred directly by the EU.

Mr Sunak appears to have had a crucial win by persuading the bloc that the text of the protocol should be tweaked – something it had previously refused to do. 

That meant that the changes on VAT and other taxes and regulations were possible.

The Windsor Framework document confirmed that the government will not abandon the NI Protocol Bill – which would have unilaterally overridden the protocol.

‘Overall the agreement delivers on the core objectives that the Government set out previously in the Command Paper of July 2021 and the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill in June 2022, such that it is no longer necessary to proceed with the Bill. 

‘In tandem, the EU will no longer proceed with the seven separate legal challenges it had brought against the UK in relation to the Protocol.’ 

Sir Jeffrey said after the announcement: ‘We welcome the publication of the outcome of the Government’s negotiations with the EU which ends a period of speculation and spin, often from those who know little about Northern Ireland.

‘In broad terms it is clear that significant progress has been secured across a number of areas whilst also recognising there remain key issues of concern. There can be no disguising the fact that in some sectors of our economy EU law remains applicable in Northern Ireland.

‘The DUP will want to study the detail of what has been published today as well as examining the detail of any and all underpinning legal texts. Where necessary we stand ready to engage with the Government in order to seek further clarification, re-working or change as required.

‘Ultimately the party will now assess all these proposed outcomes and arrangements against our seven tests, outlined in our 2022 Assembly Election Manifesto, to determine whether what has been published meet our tests and whether it respects and restores Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom.’

Speaking on GB News, Mr Paisley sounded a much more negative tone.

‘Has it been changed sufficiently, does it meet our seven tests? Obviously we’re going to continue to assess the legal framework,’ he told GB News.

‘But I think it falls some way short in satisfying those tests. That’s my gut instinct…

‘And therefore whilst the Prime Minister continues to have a protocol effectively still be in operation, that will effectively still see ECJ rule in Northern Ireland, that will still see us subject to single market rules as opposed to fully UK rules, unfortunately that means that powersharing does not look like it’s coming back any time soon.’

Mr Paisley added: ‘So far my gut instinct is this does not cut the mustard.’

Mr Sunak told the press conference this afternoon: ‘For a quarter of a century the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement has endured because at its heart it is respectful to the aspirations and identity of all communities. Today’s agreement is about preserving that delicate balance and charting a new way forward for the people of Northern Ireland.

‘Today’s agreement delivers the smooth flow of trade within the United Kingdom. Goods destined for Northern Ireland will travel through a new green lane with a separate red lane for goods at risk of moving on to the EU.

‘Food retailers like supermarkets, restaurants and wholesalers will no longer need hundreds of certificates for every lorry and we will end the situation where food made to UK rules could not be sent to and sold in Northern Ireland. This means that if food is available on supermarket shelves in Great Britain, then it will be available on supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland.’

Referencing the process of sending parcels and VAT, he said: ‘This means we have removed any sense of a border in the Irish Sea. Second, we have protected Northern Ireland’s place in the Union.’

Ms von der Leyen said she took ‘pride’ in delivering on the commitment to fix the issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol.

‘This new framework will allow us to begin a new chapter,’ she said.

‘It provides for long-lasting solutions that both of us are confident will work for all people and businesses in Northern Ireland. Solutions that respond directly to the concerns they have raised.

‘Prime Minister, we worked hard across a wide range of areas. The new arrangements are delivering a comprehensive package so that we can address in a definitive way the issues faced in everyday lives.’

Ms von der Leyen stressed that ‘the European Court of Justice is the sole and ultimate arbiter of EU law’. ‘That’s natural because it’s prescribed by the EU order. So the ECJ will have the final say in EU law and single market decisions.’

But she said that through the new framework each side has ‘worked hard’ to add the new Stormont brake.

‘This new framework will allow us to begin a new chapter,’ she said.

‘It provides for long-lasting solutions that both of us are confident will work for all people and businesses in Northern Ireland. Solutions that respond directly to the concerns they have raised.

‘Prime Minister, we worked hard across a wide range of areas. The new arrangements are delivering a comprehensive package so that we can address in a definitive way the issues faced in everyday lives.’

Tory Eurosceptics were largely keeping their powder dry this morning.

But Northern Ireland minister and self-styled ‘Brexit hard man’ Steve Baker – who has been on ‘resignation watch’ over the past few days – said the government had done a ‘fantastic’ deal. 

He said ‘pragmatic’ colleagues should ‘bank the success and move on’. 

In an ominous intervention last week, Boris Johnson (pictured today) told the PM that the 'best way forward' would be to take unilateral legal powers to scrap the EU's trade checks in Northern Ireland

In an ominous intervention last week, Boris Johnson (pictured today) told the PM that the ‘best way forward’ would be to take unilateral legal powers to scrap the EU’s trade checks in Northern Ireland

Ms von der Leyen and Mr Sunak chat as they go into the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel today

Ms von der Leyen and Mr Sunak chat as they go into the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel today

EU commission chief Ursula von der Leyen took the Eurostar to London ahead of the meeting with the PM in Windsor

EU commission chief Ursula von der Leyen took the Eurostar to London ahead of the meeting with the PM in Windsor

Gillian Keegan

Oliver Dowden

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan (left) and Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden (right) were in Downing Street for the Cabinet meeting this afternoon 

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt was at the Cabinet discussion to sign off the deal today

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt was at the Cabinet discussion to sign off the deal today

Former DUP leader Arlene Foster was scathing about the decision to tie in a meeting between Ms von der Leyen and the King

Former DUP leader Arlene Foster was scathing about the decision to tie in a meeting between Ms von der Leyen and the King

Northern ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris in Downing Street today

Northern ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris in Downing Street today

Ms von der Leyen also held talks with King Charles during her visit to Windsor.

That caused a wave of anger among DUP and Eurosceptic figures that the monarch is being dragged into the contentious politics of Brexit.

Buckingham Palace seemed to point the finger at ministers by saying the government had advised that the King should meet the visiting dignitary.

Ex-DUP leader Arlene Foster tweeted: ‘I cannot quite believe that No10 would ask HM the King to become involved in the finalising of a deal as controversial as this one. 

‘It’s crass and will go down very badly in NI. We must remember this is not the King’s decision but the Government who it appears are tone deaf.’ 

Mr Rees-Mogg said was ‘constitutionally unwise’ for the King to meet EU chief Ursula von der Leyen around the signing of the new post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland.

The leading Conservative Brexiteer said: ‘It is surprising that the King will meet Ursula von der Leyen today as it antagonises the people the Prime Minister needs to conciliate.

‘It is also constitutionally unwise to involve the King in a matter of immediate political controversy.’

The PM’s official spokesman said Rishi Sunak believes ‘fundamentally’ the decision was for Buckingham Palace.

‘He firmly believes it’s for the King to make those decisions,’ the official said.

‘It’s not uncommon for His Majesty to accept invitations to meet certain leaders, he has met President Duda and President Zelensky recently. He is meeting with the president of the EU today.’

The PM held private talks in No 10 with Mr Baker yesterday in a sign of concern about resignations, while a survey by the grass-roots Conservative Home website found Tory activists oppose the idea of Mr Sunak’s plan by 41 per cent to 36.

Before the announcement former Brexit minister Lord Frost urged the PM to revive the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, saying it was vital to be ‘really tough’ with Brussels. 

The European Research Group (ERG) of Tory MPs said it will establish a ‘star chamber’ of lawyers to examine whether the new deal meets their sovereignty tests.

Meanwhile, DUP MP Sammy Wilson said it was a ‘red line’ for his party that ‘there should be no EU law applying to this part of the UK’. 

In an ominous intervention last week, Mr Johnson told the PM that the ‘best way forward’ would be to take unilateral legal powers to scrap the EU’s trade checks in Northern Ireland

What IS in the Windsor Agreement? Will it be enough for to win over hardliners? Key details of Rishi Sunak’s new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland explained and what happens next 

Rishi Sunak‘s Windsor Framework, the new Brexit package for Northern Ireland, is the result of months of painstaking negotiation.

The PM has been deeply involved in hammering out new terms, despite warnings from many quarters that he is putting his premiership on the line.

There has been a desperate push from both sides to make progress before the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement this spring.

Mr Sunak this afternoon insisted that he had received significant concessions from Brussels in a bid to win over critics in the Democratic Unionist Party and on his own Tory backbenches.

In come red and green customs lanes splitting goods destined for domestic consumption from those going on to Ireland within the EU, to reduce the impact if checks.

There are also changes to VAT rules giving the UK full control of excise duties, and new medicines rules that allow the free movement of pets.

And in perhaps the most eye-catching of changes, the Stormont assembly will get a veto over new EU goods laws, and whether they should apply in the province.

However, it remains to be seen whether it will b enough to win over the DUP and its allies, with the European Court of Justice retaining a role in arbitration. Its removal is one of their key sticking points.

Mr Sunak this afternoon insisted that he had received significant concessions from Brussels in a bid to win over critics in the Democratic Unionist Party and on his own Tory backbenches

Mr Sunak this afternoon insisted that he had received significant concessions from Brussels in a bid to win over critics in the Democratic Unionist Party and on his own Tory backbenches

The UK and EU are unveiling a new deal on Brexit terms for Northern ireland today

The UK and EU are unveiling a new deal on Brexit terms for Northern ireland today 

There is no chance of a DUP endorsement today. In a statement its leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: 'In broad terms it is clear that significant progress has been secured across a number of areas whilst also recognising there remain key issues of concern.'

There is no chance of a DUP endorsement today. In a statement its leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: ‘In broad terms it is clear that significant progress has been secured across a number of areas whilst also recognising there remain key issues of concern.’ 

What’s the problem with the existing deal? 

One of the main problems during the Brexit process was how to treat Northern Ireland.

When the UK became a ‘third country’, the situation would have been simply solved by creating a ‘hard’ border with physical checks on vehicles and people. 

But that is forbidden by the The Good Friday Agreement, which drew a line under decades of sectarian violence in 1998.

That pact was carefully ambiguous about the status of Northern Ireland, allowing unionists and republicans to claim they had stood by key principles. That relied on both the UK and EU being under the same customs and regulatory regimes.

Boris Johnson agreed the Protocol in the original divorce terms. It attempted to resolve the issues by drawing a supposedly ‘invisible’ customs line in the Irish Sea, and leaving Northern Ireland in the EU single market.

However, unionists pointed out that the customs border was far from seamless, and have objected in principle to the idea that Northern Ireland follows a foreign power’s regulatory rules – without any say over how those rules are set.

How has that affected Northern Ireland politics?

There have been worrying signs of a rise in violent sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland. 

The DUP has always demanded the scrapping of the protocol, and forced the suspension of Stormont in February 2022 by refusing to participate in powersharing.

The Good Friday Agreement dictates that both the largest unionist and the largest republican parties must nominate the first minister and deputy first minister roles for the administration to function.   

After Northern Ireland elections in May 2022 Sinn Fein emerged as the largest party overall for the first time – meaning they should hold the First Minister role. However, the DUP has continue to boycott the executive.

The UK government is usually obliged to call elections in these circumstances, but they look unlikely to produce a different outcome and have been delayed while a deal is thrashed out.   

What has Sunak managed to get from the EU? 

The new Windsor Framework was announced by Mr Sunak and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Monday, with the Prime Minister claiming that the agreement ‘removes any sense of a border in the Irish Sea’.

The Prime Minister set out a wider array of planned changes and reforms, covering trade, VAT regulation and the role of Stormont in EU laws that apply to Northern Ireland.

At the core of the deal is the creation of a new system for the flow of goods.

Anything destined for Northern Ireland will travel there as part of a ‘green lane’, with significantly fewer checks. Anything that could cross the border and enter the EU’s single market will travel through a separate red lane.

See also  Jamie and Rebekah Vardy's gym at their mansion is almost completely destroyed by devastating blaze

Mr Sunak said that the changes to the protocol will scale back the number of certificates required for traders moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, with customs paperwork removed too for people sending parcels or buying goods online.

He indicated changes to the movement of food too, claiming that anything made to UK rules will now be clear to be ‘sent to and sold’ in NI. That will include sausages, one of the foodstuffs hit by protocol changes and which grabbed the attention of politicians in Belfast and Westminster alike.

‘If food is available on supermarket shelves in Great Britain, then it will be available on supermarket shelves in Northern Ireland,’ Mr Sunak said.

As part of the deal, the legal text of the protocol has also been amended on VAT. Under current arrangements, EU VAT and excise rules for goods generally apply in Northern Ireland.

Mr Sunak said that would now change, with the legal text of the protocol amended to allow the UK Government to ‘make critical VAT and excise changes for the whole of the UK’.

Alcohol duty, for instance, was mentioned – with Mr Sunak suggesting that the cost of a pint in the pub could be cut for Northern Irish drinkers.

There has been a desperate push from both sides to make progress before the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement this spring

There has been a desperate push from both sides to make progress before the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement this spring

How will Northern Ireland politicians be able to ‘veto’ laws?

Mr Sunak said that a ‘Stormont brake’ would be introduced to allow the Northern Ireland assembly to flag concerns about changes to EU rules that would have a ‘significant and lasting’ effect. 

This is being billed as a veto on new EU rules regarding customs, goods, and agriculture being introduced in Northern Ireland, even if it means diverging from rules across the border in Ireland.

It will operate under the same framework as the ‘Petition of Concern’ system set up by the Good Friday Agreement 25 years ago. 

In order to go forward the petition needs the support of at least 30 members of the Stormont Assembly, representing at least two parties. The system was set up to ensure cross-party consent for issues.

But the PoC does not automatically mean an EU law is vetoed. It means the complaint is sent to the UK Government and it then intercedes with Brussels as the national government. 

The Framework document also contains measures designed to prevent it from being used willy-nilly. It notes: ‘The Brake will not be available for trivial reasons: there must be something ”significantly” different about a new rule, whether in its content or scope, and MLAs will need to show that the rule has a ”significant impact specific to everyday life” that is liable to persist.’

However, in a nod to DUP complaints, arguments over the use of the break between the UK and EU will not fall under the jurisdiction of the ECJ. 

So what is the role of the ECJ now? 

The ECJ had been final arbitrator of EU law issues in the region, given the fact that Northern Ireland essentially remains within the single market for goods. 

Speaking to reporters, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the ECJ is the ‘sole and ultimate arbiter of EU law’ and will have the ‘final say’ on single market decisions. But the UK document makes it clear that there are exceptions.

The Framework document says there will be ‘a form of dual regulation … reflecting that by far the greatest portion of Northern Ireland’s economic life will continue to be based on trade within the United Kingdom’. 

‘As a result over 1,700 pages of EU law – with accompanying European Court of Justice (ECJ) jurisdiction – are disapplied, meaning that core UK trade is based on core UK internal market rules, whether citizens and businesses are based in Belfast or Birmingham,’ it adds.

‘This will ensure, for example, that the same UK food safety laws apply for retail goods moved into Northern Ireland; that VAT and excise rates apply UK-wide; and that medicines licensing will always be undertaken by the UK regulator for patients in Northern Ireland – without jeopardising access for Northern Ireland pharmaceutical firms to the EU market.’

Will it be enough to win over the DUP and Tory Eurosceptics? 

The numbers do look smaller than previous Tory revolts, meaning that Mr Sunak has a good chance of carrying a Commons vote on the new package.

Although formally there is not a requirement for a vote, the government is almost certain to hold one – not least because backbenchers and Labour would find a way of forcing it otherwise. 

There is no chance of a DUP endorsement today. In a statement its leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: ‘In broad terms it is clear that significant progress has been secured across a number of areas whilst also recognising there remain key issues of concern. There can be no disguising the fact that in some sectors of our economy EU law remains applicable in Northern Ireland.

The ERG, however, is expected to meet to discuss the deal tomorrow night. Its former leader, Steve Baker, is now a minister who helped secure the agreement. He said it should be enough to satisfy 'reasonable unionists'.

The ERG, however, is expected to meet to discuss the deal tomorrow night. Its former leader, Steve Baker, is now a minister who helped secure the agreement. He said it should be enough to satisfy ‘reasonable unionists’.

‘The DUP will want to study the detail of what has been published today as well as examining the detail of any and all underpinning legal texts. Where necessary we stand ready to engage with the Government in order to seek further clarification, re-working or change as required.’

The ERG, however, is expected to meet to discuss the deal tomorrow night. Its former leader, Steve Baker, is now a minister who helped secure the agreement.

He said it should be enough to satisfy ‘reasonable unionists’. He told the BBC: ‘There are unionists who would dig a moat between the North and the South, those unionists will never be happy.

‘But I think for reasonable unionists – and the DUP are determined but reasonable unionists – I think this deal will be good enough. And if it’s not, I’m really not sure what we’re going to do for them.’

What about Boris Johnson’s Brexit Bill?

Boris Johnson’s controversial legislation to override post-Brexit rules on Northern Ireland has been dumped by Rishi Sunak after he negotiated a new deal with the European Union.

Brussels agreed in turn that it will scrap its legal action against the UK launched in retaliation to the former prime minister’s Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.

Mr Johnson had been warning his successor that scrapping the legislation would be a ‘great mistake’.

But the Government’s new ‘Windsor Framework’, finalised with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Monday, said it was no longer needed.

‘The Government will therefore not be proceeding with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill,’ it reads.

‘In turn, the EU will not proceed with the seven separate legal actions it has launched against the United Kingdom – on issues from parcels to pets – reflecting the shared desire for a positive bilateral relationship now and into the future.’

The commission welcomed the UK agreeing to let the Bill, currently stalled in the House of Lords, to lapse at the end of the parliamentary session.

‘These arrangements, when implemented, mean that there will no longer be grounds for the existing Commission legal proceedings against the United Kingdom relating to the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland,’ a statement said.

[ad_2]

Source link