- By Peggy Morton & David Wallace Lockhart
- BBC Politics
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has urged his MPs not to create “another Westminster drama” to get their support for his new Brexit deal.
He told backbench Tories to give the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) “time and space” to consider the deal.
The deal with the EU aims to resolve issues with post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland.
The DUP’s support will be key to restoring Northern Ireland’s devolved government.
The party is boycotting Stormont and preventing a devolved government from functioning due to concerns about the current arrangements for Northern Ireland.
DUP leader Sir Geoffrey Donaldson said the new deal goes “some way” towards addressing his party’s concerns but there are some issues.
He said it would take time to analyze the party details and take a joint decision.
Meanwhile, the European Research Group (ERG), a group of pro-Brexit Tory MPs from Sir Geoffrey at a meeting on Tuesday, has appointed what it called a “star chamber” of lawyers to scrutinize the deal.
ERG chairman Marc Francois said the group’s “legal vultures” could take about a fortnight or more to go through it with a “very fine-toothed comb”.
He also said it was prudent for the Prime Minister to give time to TUP.
By contrast, former Brexit minister David Frost has already made his own decisions about Mr Sunak’s deal.
Mr Frost said the new arrangements had been “oversold” and did not change the fundamentals of the Northern Ireland protocol, which was signed by former prime minister Boris Johnson and came into force in 2021.
Under Mr Sunak’s new deal:
- Goods sent from Britain to Northern Ireland will travel through the new “green route”, with a separate “red route” for goods at risk of entry into the EU.
- Products entering Northern Ireland via the Green Lane will face significantly reduced checks and documentation, while Red Lane products will be subject to normal checks.
- The “Stormont brake” allows the Northern Ireland legislature to oppose “significantly different” new EU rules that apply in Northern Ireland.
- Northern Ireland also no longer has to follow some EU rules, for example VAT and duty on certain drinks and goods
Mr Sunack addressed a group of Tory backbenchers in 1922 after visiting Northern Ireland to promote his deal.
He is understood to have told MPs he had “spent a lot of time” with Sir Geoffrey.
“I’ll just say one thing to all of you: we need to give him and the DUP time and space,” he said, adding there was a “spectrum of views” within the party.
“So don’t force them for an immediate response,” Mr Sunak added.
“Let’s also remember that the last thing the public wants is another Westminster drama.”
A response from Tory MPs Windsor structure Broadly positive since Monday’s announcement.
Following Mr Sunak’s speech to the committee in 1922, an aide of former prime minister Boris Johnson said “he did a good job”, while another brexit said the prime minister’s words had gone down well.
Another Tory MP was deeply skeptical last week that Mr Chung could reach an acceptable deal, telling the BBC they would have to “eat humble pie” as if the prime minister had done it.
The MP said negotiators had “squared the circle” and the “Stormont brake” mechanism, aimed at giving the Northern Ireland Assembly a greater say over how EU laws apply, was a creative solution to be welcomed.
The Nationalist Party has welcomed the Windsor framework, although it said it still needs to work out the details.