Good evening. Downing Street has signaled that there is no room to make any changes to Rishi Sunak’s new Brexit deal, as the Prime Minister suggested he will press ahead with the agreement even if the DUP rejects it.
Evening briefing: Today’s essential headlines
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The PM hints that the deal will go ahead even if the DUP opposes it
Downing Street has said the Government believes it has “secured the right deal for all parties in Northern Ireland” and is ready to answer “questions about how it works in practice”.
The decision to seemingly rule out renegotiating parts of the so-called Windsor Framework means the DUP and Tory Brexiteers are effectively being presented with a take-it-or-leave-it offer, writes Jack Maidment.
It comes after Rishi Sunak suggested this morning that he will press ahead with the deal even if the DUP rejects it.
Asked at lunchtime if Mr Sunak could go back to the EU and seek changes to the deal should the DUP request them, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said: “We think we have secured the right deal for all parties in Northern Ireland. We stand ready to have further talks with those parties if they have questions about how it works in practice, indeed, we did a great deal of that in the run up to this announcement.”
Our Brussels correspondent Joe Barnes has a piece outlining what’s in the new-look Brexit deal.
Jacob Rees-Mogg urged Brexiteers to “hold the champagne” for now as he insisted the DUP’s approval of the new deal was critical.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP leader, said his party will “take our time” before making a final decision on whether to support or oppose the agreement.
In this piece, our Europe editor James Crisp details the likely outcomes if the DUP rejects Mr Sunak’s new Brexit deal.
Nigel Farage, the former Brexit Party leader, has also delivered his verdict on the deal and the wider state of the Conservative Party. Writing for The Telegraph, Mr Farage said he hopes that the Tories enjoy their brief moment of unified joy in victory courtesy of the Windsor Framework because it will not last long – you can read his full piece here.
How the deal is being described differently by the EU
On subsidies, VAT and excise rules, the Stormont brake, red and green lanes and whether the Protocol itself has been changed, differences have emerged between the UK and the EU.
Indeed, EU documents contradict some of the claims made by Downing Street as the new Windsor Framework was unveiled on Monday.
Launching the new deal, Mr Sunak said it would “ensure we can make critical VAT and excise changes for the whole of the UK”.
This was widely reported as a repatriation of powers from Brussels but the EU document makes clear Westminster’s hands will still be tied by the Protocol. James Crisp details here how the deal is being described differently by both sides.
Cleverly hits back at Starmer’s reaction
The Foreign Secretary has claimed Sir Keir Starmer’s reaction to the new Brexit deal suggests he does not understand “how negotiations work”.
James Cleverly hit back at the Labor leader for saying the Windsor Framework is a “compromise”, insisting business and community leaders “really welcome” what the Government has achieved.
Peter Kyle, Labour’s shadow Northern Ireland secretary, said he thought Mr Cleverly’s reaction was “a bit strange” as Sir Keir was “paying a compliment” to Mr. Sunak.
Our political correspondent Amy Gibbons takes a look at when a vote in Parliament on the deal may be necessary, and how a trial in the Commons is likely to play out for the Prime Minister.
Comment and analysis
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Vladimir Putin has urged Russia’s FSB security service to step up its efforts to counter what he has described as growing espionage and sabotage operations against Russia by Ukraine and the West. Speaking to FSB officials on Tuesday, the Russian president said Western intelligence agencies “have thrown additional personnel, technical and other resources against us. We need to respond accordingly.”
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Business news: Housing slump warning issued
House prices would have to fall by more than a fifth to restore mortgage affordability to last year’s level, in a sign the property slump may be worse than predicted, experts have warned. The average house price now stands at £297,770 and experts are forecasting a double-digit plunge in values this year. Alexa Phillips writes that this could still leave mortgage repayments higher than they were a year ago, if fixed rates do not drop as much as hoped.
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