Rishi Sunak’s Brexit is officially sealed after he won crunch vote… despite DUP warning it WON’T let Northern Ireland powersharing resume
- Foreign Secretary James Cleverly sealed deal with EU’s Maros Sefcovic today
By James Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline
Published: | Updated:
Rishi Sunak‘s Brexit deal for Northern Ireland has been formally signed off today – despite the DUP warning it will not rejoin powersharing.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and the EU’s Maros Sefcovic met in London to seal the new arrangements after the Government won a crunch vote on Wednesday.
Both sides are hoping that the package can herald a thaw in relations after nearly seven years of wrangling over the UK’s exit from the bloc.
The vote to implement the so-called ‘Stormont Brake’ this week has bolstered Mr Sunak’s control of the Tories.
Just 22 MPs rebelled to join the DUP in opposing the key measure, despite encouragement from big beasts including Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Priti Patel.
However, the unionists have insisted they are not yet ready to back the ‘Windsor Framework’ or return to Stormont.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and the EU’s Maros Sefcovic (pictured together today) met to seal the new arrangements after the Government won a crunch vote on Wednesday
Both sides are hoping that the package can herald a thaw in relations after nearly seven years of wrangling over the UK’s exit from the bloc
Mr Cleverly said the Framework ‘delivers on our commitment to the people of Northern Ireland’
Tensions have been running high over the Northern Ireland protocol, with the DUP saying the new deal is an improvement but does not fix all issues
Under the Good Friday agreement the executive cannot function unless both communities participate.
The formal sign-off came at a Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee meeting.
In a joint statement, Mr Cleverly and Mr Sefcovic spoke of the ‘constructive atmosphere’ between them.
‘The European Union and the United Kingdom today held the tenth meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee and second meeting of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement Partnership Council in London.
‘The meetings took place in a constructive atmosphere building on the excellent co-operation between the Foreign Secretary and the Vice-President over recent months.
‘The Joint Committee welcomed the positive approach of both sides and adopted the new arrangements set out in the Windsor Framework.
‘These arrangements address, in a definitive manner, the challenges in the operation of the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland over the last two years and the everyday issues faced by people and businesses in Northern Ireland, while supporting and protecting the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement in all its parts, and protecting the integrity of the European Union’s single market, and Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom’s internal market.
‘Both sides agreed to work together intensively and faithfully to implement all elements of the Windsor Framework. The United Kingdom and European Union also reaffirmed their intent to use all available mechanisms in the framework to address and jointly resolve any relevant future issues that may emerge.’
Brussels has already approved the key parts of the Framework at an EU Council meeting.
Downing Street was jubilant about limiting the revolt against the Brexit deal, with source saying it had been a ‘good week’ and Mr Sunak had made it ‘his party’.
The PM has boasted that it removes all trace of a border in the Irish Sea, brings Northern Ireland back under UK VAT and tax rules, and includes a theoretical veto on new EU laws being enforced in the province.
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has warned the DUP that there is no prospect of renegotiating the deal.
The Foreign Secretary and Mr Sefcovic also set to attend a meeting of the partnership council – another of the implementation bodies under the Brexit deal.
DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has insisted the party is not yet ready to back the ‘Windsor Framework’ or return to Stormont
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Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal has been officially sealed