The DUP is preparing to vote against Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal with the EU in Wednesday’s crunch House of Commons vote, The Telegraph understands.
The decision by the Unionist party is likely to embolden Tory Eurosceptics who are also gearing up to oppose the Prime Minister’s deal.
On Wednesday, MPs will debate the “Stormont Brake” – a key measure in the Windsor Framework that Mr Sunak struck with the EU to improve the functioning of the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol.
Under the brake, members of the Northern Ireland Assembly would be able to block EU regulations, but only in specific circumstances and with the EU able to take remedial action in response.
Wednesday’s vote will be on a statutory instrument to implement the mechanism, but the Government has said it will be interpreted as the defining verdict on the overall agreement.
Ministers had harboured hopes that the DUP would not actively oppose the deal, paving the way for the party to return to the Stormont Assembly, which it has been boycotting for more than a year in protest at the protocol.