The Windsor Framework: How have MPs reacted to the post-Brexit Northern Ireland new deal? | Political news

Rishi Sunak confirmed on Monday that he had reached an agreement with the EU to address problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol.

But after dealing with the press, he was sent to the House of Commons to face two and a half hours of questions from MPs of all stripes about the substance of the deal.

So what did they think? We look at the main groups questioning the prime minister.

Northern Ireland MPs

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is not yet ready to condemn or praise the protocol’s replacement.

He told lawmakers that “significant progress has been made in a number of areas” but “key issues of concern” remained.

“My party will want to study the details of what has been released today,” he added, saying he would compare it against the party’s seven tests for an acceptable deal.

But Sir Jeffrey told Sunak that “sovereignty is crucial” so in future the government needed to give Northern Ireland reassurances that there would be no EU laws setting up trade barriers between NI and the rest of the world. United Kingdom.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is taking his time before giving his approval, or disapproval, of the deal.

His DUP colleague, Jim Shannon, seemed more certain about his position. He said the deal was “more than solar panels and sausages”: it was about the Northern Ireland site in the UK.

Shannon spoke about any involvement of European courts in laws affecting them, saying that “the real power must reside in Westminster, not Brussels.”

He added: “The prime minister cannot reach any deal without bringing a majority of the trade unionists on board.

“And pushing another deal through this House without unionists’ buy-in will offer no result other than another failed deal.”

Another DUP MP, Sammy Wilson, described Mr Sunak’s statement to the House of Commons as “an 18-minute confession… about the harm the (Northern Ireland) Protocol his government signed has caused him to Northern Ireland.”

And he questioned the so-called Stormont brake, which is designed to allow the Assembly to pause on new EU laws and allow the UK government to veto them.

“We don’t have confidence in that,” Wilson said, “and (that’s) why we still fear that our position in the UK won’t be restored.”

Read more:
Five key sections of the Windsor Framework

But SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said his concerns about the brake had a different perspective.

“There has been a lot of talk about the DUP’s concerns,” he said.

“But it’s important to remember that the majority of people in Northern Ireland were opposed to Brexit and want to see the benefits of dual access (to the EU single market) put to good use.”

His point was echoed by Stephen Farry of the Alliance Party, who worried it could “add more instability” in Northern Ireland if that access is threatened.

the tories

There were no direct condemnations of the framework from Conservative seats… yet.

Neither Boris Johnson nor Liz Truss were in the House, although a source close to Johnson told Sky News that he “continues to study and reflect on the government’s proposals.”

Sir Edward Leigh was closer, warning that unless the deal got the NI Assembly up and running again, “it’s pretty pointless, in fact it could be downright dangerous.”

He added: “I can assure you that many of your colleagues in these docks are watching the DUP very carefully and we will go where they go.”

Theresa May, the first Conservative prime minister to try to broker a deal, who was kicked out by her own MPs for failing to reach a deal they liked, congratulated Sunak on the new offer, saying it would “make a huge difference”.

She said the Northern Ireland Protocol, negotiated by her immediate successor Boris Johnson, had been “the European Union’s preferred proposal for a border in the Irish Sea”.

He added: “The best thing now is for everyone in this House to support this deal, because that’s what’s best for all Northern Irish people.”

theresa may
Theresa May gave her support to Rishi Sunak’s agreement, while making some criticisms of Boris Johnson’s.

Former Brexit secretary and Brexit cheerleader David Davis also gave his wholehearted support to the framework.

He offered his “unreserved congratulations” to Mr. Sunak, calling it a “spectacular success” and praising the “extraordinary mechanism” of the Stormont brake.

“It was a brilliant piece of negotiation, insight and imagination,” he said.

Andrea Leadsom, another leading Brexit campaigner, said that if this deal had been tabled at any point in the last five years, “those of us who were Brexiters, Unionists and Remainers would have signed on.”

But Sir Bill Cash said that “the devil as always is in the details”.

Opposition views

Offering his support for the deal, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer told the House of Commons: “We will not attack. We will not seek to play political games.”

“And when the Prime Minister puts this deal to a vote, Labor will vote for it.”

He said the plan “will never be perfect, it’s a compromise” but added: “It’s always been clear to me that, if implemented correctly, it’s an arrangement that can work in the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.”

“And now that it’s agreed, we all have an obligation to make it work.”

However, Sir Keir took the opportunity to attack Boris Johnson for having told the public that there would be no checks on the Irish Sea under his earlier agreement, calling the claim “nonsense”.

“(It was) a flat refusal to engage with unionists in Northern Ireland in good faith, never mind taking their concerns seriously,” he added. “And it inevitably contributed to the collapse of power sharing in Northern Ireland.

“And I wondered after the prime minister listed all the issues if he had forgotten who negotiated it.

“So, in laying out what this deal means in practice, I urge the prime minister to be completely different to his predecessor.”

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‘We will not attack’: Labor vows to back deal

Perhaps unsurprisingly, SNP MPs were less than impressed with the deal, believing it would be best to return to the EU.

“Brexit has been an absolute disaster,” said Westminster party leader Stephen Flynn.

“And what this deal doesn’t do is create parity between these nations.”

He said Northern Irish businesses would continue to have access to the EU single market while Scotland would not.

“I don’t envy Northern Irish companies, but I’m sorry Scotland doesn’t have the same opportunities,” he added.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said his party needed to look into the deal but welcomed the “spirit of partnership and compromise between the UK government and the European Union” in reaching a deal.

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