!-- Google tag (gtag.js) -->

No changes to the Brexit deal DUP warned

Rishi Sunak is not prepared to make changes to his landmark Brexit deal as he stares down critics in the DUP and on his own backbenches.

Northern Ireland’s largest unionist party has claimed the agreement may need “reworking”.

But the prime minister’s official spokesperson said that the government believed it had secured “the right deal for all parties in Northern Ireland”.

He added that the government was prepared to answer questions about “how (the deal) works in practice”.

NI Office minister and Brexiteer Steve Baker also warned: “This is the deal.. there is not a different deal available”.

Mr. Sunak claimed his Windsor framework would give Northern Ireland the “world’s most exciting economic zone” on a trip to Belfast to sell the deal.

The prime minister is awaiting the verdict of the DUP, which has said it will take time to study the proposals, and the European Research Group of eurosceptics in his own party.

Former prime minister Boris Johnson has also been urged to “put up or shut up” over the deal, which Mr. Sunak said would get Brexit done.

Sources close to the former prime minister did not deny a report that he had asked the DUP to withhold support until they had carefully studied the agreement.

One senior Tory MP said Mr. Johnson should “put up or shut up” and urged Mr. Sunak to suspend him if he opposes the Windsor agreement. “Support the deal or lose the whip,” he told The Independent.

Another senior Tory MP said: “Boris needs to stop playing games and realize this is all over. It’s time to be magnanimous and embrace the fact it’s a really good Brexit deal.”

Former deputy PM David Lidington also called on Mr. Johnson to come out and back the deal. “I hope he will recognize what Rishi Sunak has achieved and give the PM his full support,” he told The Independent.

Mr. Johnson was not in the Commons chamber when Mr. Sunak took questions on the deal from MPs on Monday.

He took part in a Commons debate on energy security on Tuesday, but did not mention Brexit.

A source close to the ex-PM said he would “study and reflect” on the Windsor Framework.

Mr. Sunak is thought to have phoned his predecessor to brief him on the deal before announcing it. The PM asked Mr. Johnson to “pipe down” on Brexit after a series of interventions, according to a Sunak ally.

Another ally said the PM should use the huge “momentum” he has behind the deal and hold a promised vote in the Commons next week, rather than let the DUP and ERG keep finding details they don’t like in the full text.

No 10 would not be drawn on the timing of the vote on the deal, saying Mr. Sunak was “keen to avoid putting pressure on political parties” as they continue to study the deal of the compromise struck with Brussels.

Several senior MPs told The Independent they expected a rebellion to be limited to 20 of the staunchest hardliners “at the most” – enough for Mr. Sunak to get his deal through parliament without relying on Labor votes.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson – who has warned of “remaining key issues of concern” – suggested on Tuesday that the unionist party could take a long time before offering a verdict.

“Our party officers, our assembly members, our MPs and ultimately even our party executive will determine the party’s approach on this issue,” he told Good Morning Ulster. “We will consult and we will take our time.”

DUP hardliner Ian Paisley Jr said his “gut instinct” was that the agreement “doesn’t cut the mustard”.

Although Sir Jeffrey raised the idea of ​​the DUP suggesting changes, No 10 signaled there was no room to go back to the EU with alterations. “We stand ready to have further talks with those parties if they have questions about how it works in practice,” said Mr. Sunak’s spokesperson.

Tory Brexiteers in the ERG are set to convene Sir Bill Cash’s so-called “star chamber” of lawyers to scrutinize the deal.

One leading ERG member was overheard in a shouting match with a fellow Tory MP in parliament earlier on Tuesday, as they came under pressure to back the deal. “We will read it in full and will make our mind up,” the ERG MP said, adding: “Don’t tell me what I think!”

Mr. Sunak raised eyebrows at a Q&A session with workers in Belfast when he said his deal meant Northern Ireland was the world’s “most exciting economic zone” with access to both EU and UK markets.

Telling the audience at Lisburn’s Coca-Cola factory the province was in an unbelievably special position”, he added: “Nobody else has that. No one. Only you guys – only here, and that is the prize.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top