Blog: Tory Eurosceptics poised to vote against Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal – The Telegraph

Tory Eurosceptics have panned Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal ahead of a crunch vote on Wednesday, warning that its central plank is “likely to be useless in practice”. 

The European Research Group (ERG) delivered a withering assessment of the agreement struck with the EU, saying it fails to restore Northern Ireland’s place in the union. 

In a damning dossier, it attacked Number 10 for making “misleading” claims about how the pact will remove swathes of EU law from the province and ditch border checks. 

But despite the criticism Mark Francois, the ERG chairman, suggested the 30-strong group may not take a joint decision to oppose the deal in the Commons. 

He said its members will meet on Wednesday morning to “discuss what attitude, if any, to take”, adding: “We don’t want to be hoist by our own petard.”

Asked whether its MPs may abstain, he said: “The group hasn’t taken a decision yet, and ultimately it will be down to every individual colleague in the group.” 

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, which was signed in 2020, Northern Ireland remained in the EU single market to avoid the need for a hard border with the Republic.

Instead, checks on goods were moved into the Irish Sea, creating new red tape barriers between businesses in Great Britain and the province. 

Negotiations to fix problems created by the sea border began in 2021, but stalled until Mr Sunak became Prime Minister and improved relations with the EU. Last month, he signed the Windsor Framework with Ursula von der Leyen, the EU Commission president, which he said would restore Northern Ireland’s place in the union. 

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