Blog: Tory Eurosceptics warn Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to not ‘betray Brexit’ over Ulster deal with EU – Daily Mail

Tory Eurosceptics warn Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to not ‘betray Brexit’ over Ulster deal with EU

  • Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been warned that caving into Brussels in regards to Brexit on the issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol would achieve nothing 
  • Former Brexit Minister David Jones has told Number 10 relying on Labour votes to push through a new deal ‘would be a very divisive course of action to take’ 
  • It comes after suggestions that an agreement to resolve issues is forthcoming 
  • Protocol is part of Brexit deal to ensure free trade continues across Irish border 

By Brendan Carlin for The Mail on Sunday

Published: | Updated:

The Government was accused last night of a ‘futile bid’ to bounce MPs into a Northern Ireland deal that could betray Brexit.

Tory Eurosceptics warned Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that caving in to Brussels on the issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol would achieve nothing.

Former Brexit Minister David Jones also told No 10 that relying on Labour votes to push through a new deal ‘would be a very divisive course of action to take’. It followed suggestions that London and Brussels were drawing closer to an agreement to resolve issues with the Protocol, which has been blamed for driving a wedge between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Tory Eurosceptics warned Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that caving in to Brussels on the issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol would achieve nothing

The Protocol is part of the Brexit deal agreed between the UK and the EU to ensure free trade continued across the Irish border. It led to additional checks on goods between Britain and Northern Ireland. But this angered the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which has boycotted Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government for months.

Optimism that there could be a breakthrough in resolving the stand-off grew, however, after the EU and the UK agreed terms for accessing data detailing the flow of goods from mainland Britain into Northern Ireland, which has effectively remained in the EU single market as it has a border with Ireland. There were claims yesterday – denied by UK Government sources – that Ministers were ready to shelve a controversial Bill overriding parts of the Protocol as a sign of goodwill to the EU.

It sparked unease among the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory Brexiteers. Last night, ERG deputy chairman Mr Jones fired a warning shot across the Government’s bows, saying it ‘must realise it is utterly futile to try to bounce Tory MPs into a Northern Ireland protocol deal that involves watering down the Brexit deal’.

He added: ‘It is futile because, quite rightly, Unionist politicians will never accept it. And without their agreement, there will still be no return to devolved democratic rule in Northern Ireland.

‘So all this breathless talk of breakthroughs in negotiations with Brussels will, I am afraid, achieve very little.’

On a visit to Belfast last week, Sir Keir Starmer offered Mr Sunak ‘political cover’ so the PM could get a new deal though Parliament by promising Labour support in the Commons

On a visit to Belfast last week, Sir Keir Starmer offered Mr Sunak ‘political cover’ so the PM could get a new deal though Parliament by promising Labour support in the Commons to overcome the ERG ‘Brexit purity cult’.

But Mr Jones warned the PM that a move that relied on Labour votes ‘would be a very divisive course of action’. He added: ‘We must respect the will of the democratically-elected Unionist politicians in Northern Ireland and restore the constitutional integrity of the UK.’

Last night, DUP leader Sir Jeffery Donaldson played down talk of an imminent deal, saying it was clear from a meeting with Foreign Secretary James Cleverly last week ‘that we are not close to a major breakthrough’.

He added that ‘tinkering around the edges of the Protocol simply is not going to work’ and called for ‘arrangements that respect Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market’.

Government sources insisted last night that the talks were constructive but conceded there were still significant gaps to bridge.

Advertisement

Share or comment on this article:

Tory Eurosceptics warn Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to not ‘betray Brexit’ over Ulster deal with EU

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s