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Brexit latest LIVE: Rishi Sunak addressing MPs on Northern Ireland deal as DUP hails ‘significant progress’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is delivering a statement to MPs after announcing a deal between the UK and the EU on new post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland.

Mr Sunak earlier hailed the “decisive breakthrough” at a news conference with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen after the pair met for “final talks” at a hotel in Windsor early on Monday afternoon.

Later Ms von der Leyen met with King Charles, a tacit suggestion of the monarch’s support for the deal - something that has raised eyebrows as normally the royal family keep out of politics.

Rishi Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen attending a joint press conference on Monday (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen attending a joint press conference on Monday (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Prime Minister said the new deal “delivers smooth-flowing trade within the whole of the United Kingdom, protects Northern Ireland’s place in our union and safeguards sovereignty for the people of Northern Ireland”.

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Mr Sunak also said Parliament will have a vote on the deal “at the appropriate time”, adding: “I think it’s important we give everyone the time and the space they need to consider the detail of the framework.”

News of the deal has caused a surge in the value of the pound against the US dollar.

Reacting to the deal, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) hailed “significant progress” but party leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said “there remain key issues of concern”.

The opinion of the DUP is seen as a key bellwether for the success of any deal, with the party’s backing crucial to restoring powersharing at Stormont.

Sir Jeffrey said that his party will now “study the detail” of the Windsor Framework, “as well as examining the detail of any and all underpinning legal texts”.

What is happening on Monday?

07:13 , Miriam Burrell

  • Rishi Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen met for final talks in Windsor, Berkshire

  • Ms von der Leyen will sit down for tea with the King in the late afternoon

  • The prime minister will hold a virtual Cabinet meeting to brief ministers on what he has managed to secure

  • Mr Sunak and Ms von der Leyen will hold a joint press conference about 3.30pm

  • The prime minister will travel to Westminster to give a statement in the House of Commons around 6.30pm

What is the Northern Ireland protocol?

07:24 , Miriam Burrell

The protocol was signed by former prime minister Boris Johnson in 2020.

It was designed to prevent a hard border with Ireland after Brexit, with Northern Ireland continuing to follow EU rules on goods to prevent checks being needed when crossing into the Republic.

But the trade barriers between Northern Ireland and Great Britain created by the treaty has created Unionist tension.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has issued seven tests that Mr Sunak’s new pact will have to meet in order to win the party’s backing.

No 10 said Rishi Sunak would be entering talks with Ms von der Leyen to “return sovereignty to the people of Northern Ireland”.

Downing St said the prime minister wants to ensure “trade flows freely within the whole of the UK”.

‘Now is the time for much needed change'

07:29 , Miriam Burrell

Tory MP Robert Buckland has said “now is the time to press ahead with much needed change” ahead of the prime minister’s “final talks” with the EU chief.

He told Sky News: “We need to think of citizens in Northern Ireland and their lives…and work together for that change.

“Whilst it will be great to have the DUP on board, it would be great to get on with those reforms.

“It does sound as if is going to be a big step forward,” he added.

Former justice secretary Sir Robert Buckland (PA Wire)
Former justice secretary Sir Robert Buckland (PA Wire)

‘Some sort of vote’ expected for MPs

07:39 , Miriam Burrell

There will be “some sort of vote” for MPs on any Northern Ireland protocol agreement, Tory MP Robert Buckland has said.

Downing Street has not fully committed to giving Parliament a vote, as demanded by the European Research Group (ERG), made up of Eurosceptic Tory MPs.

But MPs are expected to have some say on at least “part of the deal”.

“If I were the government, I would be making time for debate and some sort of vote by members,” Mr Buckland told Sky News.

“Let’s not get too hung about this.”

What are the DUP’s seven tests?

07:49 , Miriam Burrell

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has set seven tests for any new settlement on the protocol.

If an agreement fails to include the following, it could mean the party continues to prevent a devolved goverment in Northern Ireland:

  • Guarantee the sixth article of the Act of the Union 1800 - that every UK citizen is "entitled to the same privileges"

  • Avoid diversion of trade

  • No border in the Irish Sea

  • Allowing Northern Irish people a say in their laws

  • No checks on goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland

  • No new regulatory barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK - unless agreed in Stormont

  • Preserve the "letter and spirit" of Northern Ireland’s position set out in the Good Friday Agreement

DUP may not be persuaded, Rees-Mogg says

07:56 , Miriam Burrell

Tory former Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said Rishi Sunak may not have done enough to persuade the DUP to return to powersharing in Stormont.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “From what I’ve heard, he has done very well, but I’m not sure he has achieved the objective of getting the DUP back into powersharing, which is the fundamental point of it.”

He added: “So, if the DUP doesn’t think that it meets test, that will be very influential among Conservative MPs.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg (Reuters)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Reuters)

Sunak will win ‘big majority’ for deal in Commons vote

08:31 , Miriam Burrell

Labour’s shadow chancellor believes the prime minister would win a “big majority” if he allowed MPs to vote on any Northern Ireland Protocol deal made.

Rachel Reeves told Sky News that it’s unclear how the DUP and Tory MPs will respond but “the best thing” would be to have “cross party support”.

“I don’t think there has to be a vote but it makes sense to give legitimacy to something…and I believe he will win a big majority,” she said.

“Labour is lending our vote in this case to the government.”

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves (PA Wire)
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves (PA Wire)

What might be in a deal?

08:56 , Miriam Burrell

There has been little detail from No 10 on what is currently on the table in terms of a fresh pact.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab hinted at what might be in a new deal during interviews on Sunday.

He indicated that reports of check-free lanes for goods coming from Great Britain into Northern Ireland were correct and that efforts had been made to give Belfast a role in approving new EU laws that would apply to the province.

The Leave campaigner said the reduction in trade red tape would lead to a “substantial scaling back” of the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), but he refused to rule out it having a say on future legal cases.

The continued application of Brussels-made laws and the influence of European judges in Northern Ireland after Brexit has irked Tory Eurosceptics and the DUP.

Pictured: MPs at Downing St

10:19 , Miriam Burrell

A stream of ministers and Senior Tory MPs have visited No 10 Downing Street this morning, including Britain’s Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris.

Chris Heaton-Harris (AFP via Getty Images)
Chris Heaton-Harris (AFP via Getty Images)
Minister of State in Britain’s Northern Ireland Office Steve Baker (AFP via Getty Images)
Minister of State in Britain’s Northern Ireland Office Steve Baker (AFP via Getty Images)

NI protocol: Key questions answered

10:35 , Miriam Burrell

Jointly agreed by the UK and EU, the Norther Ireland protocol was the part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement that dealt with the main obstacle in the divorce talks – the Irish land border.

To keep the border free flowing, London and Brussels essentially moved new regulatory and customs checks required by Brexit to the Irish Sea.

That has introduced red tape on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, creating a headache for many businesses and enraging loyalists and unionists.

Read here for answers to key questions about the protocol.

Rishi Sunak with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (PA Wire)
Rishi Sunak with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (PA Wire)

Starmer: Reset with EU goes ‘way beyond protocol’

11:15 , Miriam Burrell

The Labour leader said “real changes” to the Brexit deal are needed in a relationship reset with the EU that must “go way beyond the protocol”.

Sir Keir Starmer reiterated his party’s support for any deal won by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, adding: “I can say with confidence we expect to be able to back the deal.

“It’s almost inevitable that the ECJ (European Court of Justice) will have to play some part in this, I think the Prime Minister recognises that, the Government recognises that, but we’ve got to make progress.”

Sir Keir said the question lies in whether Mr Sunak can “sell it to his backbenchers or not”.

UN chief to meet with King - reports

11:16 , Miriam Burrell

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will meet with the King at Windsor Castle on Monday afternoon, PA reports.

Buckingham Palace confirms meet with EU chief

11:24 , Miriam Burrell

Buckingham Palace has confirmed the meeting between Charles and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The spokesperson said: “The King is pleased to meet any world leader if they are visiting Britain and it is the Government’s advice that he should do so.”

The head of state and president will sit down to tea late on Monday afternoon during their meeting where a range of topics are expected to be discussed including climate change and the situation in Ukraine.

Ursula von der Leyen arrives in UK

11:26 , Miriam Burrell

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has arrived in the UK.

A photo shared on Twitter shows the EU chief walking alongside a Eurostar train.

She wrote: “I’m looking forward to turning a page and opening a new chapter with our partner and friend.”

PM gears up to meet Ursula von der Leyen

11:55 , Miriam Burrell

Former DUP leader ‘cannot quite believe’ King is meeting von der Leyen

12:10 , Sami Quadri

Downing Street defends decision to advise King to meet with von der Leyen

12:15 , Sami Quadri

Downing Street has defended the decision to advise the King to meet EU chief Ursula von der Leyen.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Rishi Sunak believes “fundamentally” the decision was for Buckingham Palace.

“He firmly believes it’s for the King to make those decisions,” the official said.

“It’s not uncommon for His Majesty to accept invitations to meet certain leaders, he has met President Duda and President Zelensky recently. He is meeting with the president of the EU today.”

Asked why the final protocol talks were taking place in Windsor, the spokesman said: “There are a number of occasions when these sorts of talks have been held in significant occasions, this is no different.”

Rees-Mogg says it’s ‘constitutionally unwise’ for King to meet von der Leyen

12:29 , Sami Quadri

Jacob Rees-Mogg has said it is “constitutionally unwise” for the King to meet EU chief Ursula von der Leyen amid the signing of the new post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland.

The leading Conservative Brexiteer said: “It is surprising that the King will meet Ursula von der Leyen today as it antagonises the people the Prime Minister needs to conciliate.“

“It is also constitutionally unwise to involve the King in a matter of immediate political controversy.”

Steve Baker, NIO minister and former ERG deputy chair, describes protocol deal as 'fantastic result'

12:46 , Sami Quadri

Arch-Brexiteer Steve Baker has backed Rishi Sunak’s Northern Ireland Protocol deal, saying it could be a “really fantastic” outcome.

The Northern Ireland Office minister was asked whether he would support the deal as he left 10 Downing Street.

Mr Baker told broadcasters: “I can only say this: that the Prime Minister is on the cusp of securing a really fantastic result for everyone involved.”

Pictured: Rishi Sunak arrives at hotel in Windsor ahead of von der Leyen meeting

13:00 , Sami Quadri

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (right) arrives at Fairmont Windsor Park hotel ahead of a meeting with von der Leyen (PA)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (right) arrives at Fairmont Windsor Park hotel ahead of a meeting with von der Leyen (PA)

Statement expected this evening - reports

13:27 , Miriam Burrell

A statement is expected in the House of Commons at 6.30pm, Sky News is reporting.

Rishi Sunak and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have both now arrived at the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel for the meeting.

Ursula von der Leyen arrives in Windsor

13:36 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak has greeted the European Commission president outside the Fairmont Windsor Park hotel in Windsor.

Talks are underway before Ursula von der Leyen meets with the King later this afternoon.

 (PA)
(PA)

'Genuine attempt’ to resolve unionist issues

14:03 , Miriam Burrell

Irish deputy leader Micheal Martin said there has been “a genuine attempt” to resolve issues with the protocol raised by unionists and that the looming possible deal represents a chance to reset British-Irish relations.

“All of those issues that have been raised, I think people will find a genuine attempt at a response to those issues,” he told RTE.

“The European Union has listened to the concerns that have been articulated consistently by the DUP, the UUP and others in Northern Ireland in respect of the operation of the protocol.”

The foreign affairs minister added: “The Brexit situation, the protocol... have created challenges for the British-Irish relationship over the last three years and I think the resolution of these issues will give an opportunity to really reset the British-Irish relationship into the future.”

Cabinet ministers arrive at Downing St

14:16 , Miriam Burrell

Cabinet ministers have started ariving at No 10 ahead of what is expected to be a virtual meeting held this afternoon by Rishi Sunak from Windsor.

He is set to outline to MPs the nature of any deal secured with Ursula von der Leyen this afternoon.

 (PA)
(PA)
 (PA)
(PA)

Agreement has been reached - reports

14:25 , Miriam Burrell

The UK and EU have reached a new deal on the Northern Ireland protocol, according to several reports.

BBC political editor Chris Mason was reportedly told by a senior government official that “the deal is done”.

‘The deal is done'

14:35 , Miriam Burrell

The Prime Minister and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen have finalised the long-awaited agreement to ease the trading issues created by the Northern Ireland Protocol, a government source has told PA.

“An agreement has been reached. The deal is done,” they said.

Rishi Sunak hopes the deal will win the approval of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) so powersharing can be restored in Northern Ireland to get Stormont back up and running.

DUP support would also be key in convincing Tory Brexiteers to back the deal as pressure mounted on the Prime Minister to give MPs a Commons vote.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Press conference confirmed

14:41 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen will hold a press conference this afternoon to announce the new deal.

It is expected to start around 3.30pm.

‘Today is an opportunity to move forward'

14:45 , Miriam Burrell

Responding to the deal, shadow Northern Ireland secretary Peter Kyle said: “Today is an opportunity for Northern Ireland, the UK and EU to move forwards.

“Attention should be on the contents of any protocol deal. Labour stands ready to act in all Northern Ireland’s interests.”

Pound jumps after post-Brexit deal

14:47 , Miriam Burrell

The pound has jumped higher after Britain and the EU secured a new post-Brexit deal for Northern Ireland.

Sterling leaped 0.7% higher to 1.20 US dollars and was 0.3% up at 1.14 euros after a Government source said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen had signed a breakthrough deal at a meeting in Windsor.

The FTSE 100 Index was also trading 0.6% or 50.7 points higher at 7929.4 in afternoon trading on Monday.

The deal is set to finalise Brexit more than six years after the 2016 referendum, and to resolve the trading issues created by the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Get the latest updates here.

Sunak briefs Cabinet on new deal

15:02 , Miriam Burrell

Ahead of a news conference, the prime minister has briefed Cabinet members on the reported new deal via a virtual conference from Windsor.

MPs arrived at Downing Street in London throughout the afternoon for the meeting.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

King arrives in Windsor

15:18 , Miriam Burrell

King Charles III has arrived at Windsor Castle ahead of having tea with Ursula von der Leyen later this afternoon.

The pair are expected to talk about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the climate crisis among other topics.

Von der Leyen and Sunak arrive for news conference

15:27 , Miriam Burrell

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have arrived at the venue for a press conference in Windsor.

Talks at the Fairmont Hotel nearby lasted just under an hour and 45 minutes.

The news conference is expected to begin in a few minutes.

Sunak: ‘We have made a decisive breakthrough'

15:34 , Miriam Burrell

“I’m pleased to report we have now made a decisive breakthrough,” Rishi Sunak told reporters as he stood beside Ursula von der Leyen at a news conference.

“Together we have changed the original protocol and today are announcing the new Windsor Framework.”

The prime minister said the new deal delivers smooth trade and “safeguards sovereignty for the people of Northern Ireland”.

‘Any sense’ of border in Irish Sea removed, PM says

15:37 , Miriam Burrell

The prime minister said today’s agreement removes “any sense of a border in the Irish Sea”.

Rishi Sunak said food that is available on supermarket shelves in UK will be available also in Northern Ireland.

He also said today’s agremeent means anyone sending mail or online shopping between the UK and Northern Ireland will have to complete no customs papework.

Deal is ‘turning point’ for Northern Ireland

15:38 , Miriam Burrell

The deal today marks a turning point for the people of Northern Ireland, Rishi Sunak has said.

“Today’s agreement is written in language of laws and tready but really...it’s about stability in Northern Ireland. It’s about people and real businesses.

“It’s about showing our union can and will endure.”

‘We take pride’ in agreement, von der Leyen says

15:42 , Miriam Burrell

Ursula von der Leyen said it was vital to put challenges between the EU and UK “on the right footing”.

The European Commission President said the new deal was not easy.

“Above all we had to listen to the concerns of the people of Northern Ireland,” she told reporters.

“We were both generally committed to finding a pratical solution.

“Today we can take pride in the fact that we have delivered on that committment.

“Today we have reached an agreement in principal on the Windsor Framework.”

Ms von der Leyen said the new framework provides “long last solutions” that “both of us” are confident will work for all people and businesses and directly responds to concerns they have raised.

Deal is a ‘new chapter’ in UK EU partnership

15:44 , Miriam Burrell

“We can now open a new chapter in our partnership,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

The deal builds a “stronger EU UK relationship, standing as close partners, now and into the future”, she added.

Ms von der Leyen said today’s agreement is “historic”.

Sunak: Politics aside, the deal is about the people

15:50 , Miriam Burrell

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the DUP will want to digest the detail of today’s agreement, but politics aside, the deal answers concerns of the people of Northern Ireland.

Ursula von der Leyen confirmed the European Court of Justice will have the final say on EU law and single-market issues.

Parliament will vote on deal ‘at appropriate time’

15:52 , Miriam Burrell

Parliament will have a vote on today’s post-Brexit deal “at the appropiate time”, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, but MPs will need to take time to digest the details.

‘We have so much in common’, von der Leyen says

15:57 , Miriam Burrell

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said the EU and UK are facing a number of challenges together, including the climate crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

She said the two “have so much in common” and today’s agreement is all about “the best solution for the people of Northern Ireland”.

When questioned why Mr Sunak could reach a deal but none of Mr Sunak’s predecessors, she said: “There was a very constructive attitude to solve problems.”

Pictured: Sunak and von der Leyen press conference

16:00 , Miriam Burrell

 (Reuters)
(Reuters)

New deal ‘will deliver significant improvements’, says Sunak

16:11 , Daniel Keane

Asked whether he believed unionists will accept "different treatment" in Northern Ireland, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said people will see the new deal "delivers significant improvements in almost every aspect of their lives" that have been negatively impacted by the protocol.

He acknowledged Northern Ireland has access to the single market and to avoid a hard border with the Republic there is a "lot of EU law".

But Mr Sunak said the new deal allows for "further democratic accountability", providing a "very powerful mechanism" for Stormont to use when it has concerns.

He said the agreement was vital to "providing reassurance to everyone in Northern Ireland that they are in control of their destiny".

ECJ ‘will have final say’ on market decisions, says von der Leyen

16:18 , Daniel Keane

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is the "sole and ultimate arbiter of EU law" and will have the "final say" on single market decisions.

She told reporters: "Indeed, the European Court of Justice is the sole and ultimate arbiter of EU law - that's natural because it's prescribed by the EU order. So the ECJ will have the final say in EU law and single market decisions."

But Ms von der Leyen said that through the new framework each side has "worked hard" to add the new Stormont brake.

She added that it remains an emergency mechanism that hopefully will not need to be used.

Ms von der Leyen said the EU is fully committed to safeguarding the Good Friday Agreement and to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

"Extensive consultations" with the UK and Northern Ireland will regulate the system, she said.

Sunak: ‘This is about Northern Ireland, not politicians’

16:30 , Daniel Keane

Rishi Sunak was asked what he would do if former prime minister Boris Johnson and members of the hardline Eurosceptic European Research Group tried to block the deal.

He was also pressed on why he had been able to negotiate the concessions where his predecessors had been unable to.

Mr Sunak replied: "Ultimately, this isn't necessarily about me, it's not about politicians.

"It's about the people of Northern Ireland. It's about what's best for them."

Ms von der Leyen said the two sides were fighting "on the same side" and that there had been a "very constructive attitude from the very beginning".

Senior Tory praises ‘grown up politics'

16:38 , Daniel Keane

The Conservative chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has praised the "grown politics" involved in striking the new protocol deal.

Writing on Twitter, Simon Hoare said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and the EU's chief protocol negotiator Maros Sefcovic "have demonstrated magnificently what can be achieved when, with mutual respect, understanding, trust and friendship grown ups can do grown politics".

"As Chairman of CommonsNIAC I say 'thank you & well done'."

Sunak to address 1922 Committee tomorrow

16:50 , Daniel Keane

Rishi Sunak will address the 1922 Committee on Tuesday evening to make the case for his Brexit deal.

The Prime Minister will speak to the influential backbench group of MPs at 5pm, according to reports.

Senior Tories have so far expressed support for Mr Sunak’s deal despite fears that it could be opposed by Brexiteers in the party.

Tobias Ellwood, the Tory chairman of the Defence Select Committee, tweeted: "Welcome breakthrough. This is good for GB. This is good for NI. Let’s support the PM."

Windsor Framework published

17:03 , Daniel Keane

The full text of the “Windsor Framework” has now been published on the Government’s website.

The document says that the deal will deliver “smooth flowing trade within the whole United Kingdom”, as well as “protect Northern Ireland’s place in our union”.

It also claims to “address the democratic deficit that was otherwise at the heart of the old Protocol”.

Breaking: King welcomes von der Leyen

17:07 , Daniel Keane

King Charles has welcomed Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, to Windsor Castle.

Ms von Der Leyen was pictured shaking the hands of the King at the royal residence - just hours after holding a joint press conference with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to announce the Brexit deal.

Buckingham Palace earlier confirmed the meeting between the sovereign and the EU chief would go ahead following “Government advice”.

The pair are also expected to discuss climate change and the war in Ukraine.

Baker gives backing to Brexit deal

17:12 , Daniel Keane

Tory minister and influential Brexiteer Steve Baker has given his backing to Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal, in a signicant sign that the party’s right may be warming to the agreement.

He told Sky News that the deal meets the DUP’s “seven tests” and has the approval of the European Research Group (ERG).

“In my view this restores Northern Ireland’s place in the union. It makes sure that Northern Ireland is in the UK’s internal market for goods in both directions, without burdensome process.

“It also deals with the democratic deficit - the assembly in Northern Ireland will be able to say no to EU law. That is a terrific breakthrough and it shows great statesmanship.”

ERG ‘will scrutinise deal’ but I think they will back it, says Baker

17:19 , Daniel Keane

Mr Baker told Sky News that the ERG would “read and scrutinise every word” of the deal but would ultimately give it their backing.

“They will scrutinise it all in detail as it’s existential for Eurosceptics. I met them earlier and explained why I am backing this deal enthusiastically.

“I think once they have read the text themselves they will back this deal and we can move on.”

Securing the backing of the ERG would be crucial for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, allowing for the smooth passage of the legislation through the House of Commons later this week.

The ERG have previously stymied efforts to pass Brexit legislation, notably blocking former Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposals on three occasions. This eventually culminated in her resignation in 2019.

DUP ‘could seek changes to Brexit deal’, says Donaldson

17:24 , Daniel Keane

The Democratic Unionist Party said on Monday that it may seek changes to the deal struck just hours earlier between Rishi Sunak’s Government and Brussels on Northern Ireland trade, writes Nic Cecil.

After the publication of the so-called “Windsor Framework”, to replace the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol, DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: “We welcome the publication of the outcome of the Government’s negotiations with the EU which ends a period of speculation and spin, often from those who know little about Northern Ireland.

“In broad terms it is clear that significant progress has been secured across a number of areas whilst also recognising there remain key issues of concern.

“There can be no disguising the fact that in some sectors of our economy EU law remains applicable in Northern Ireland.”

He added: “The DUP will want to study the detail of what has been published today as well as examining the detail of any and all underpinning legal texts. Where necessary we stand ready to engage with the Government in order to seek further clarification, re-working or change as required.

“Ultimately the party will now assess all these proposed outcomes and arrangements against our seven tests, outlined in our 2022 Assembly Election Manifesto, to determine whether what has been published meet our tests and whether it respects and restores Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom.”

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the DUP could seek changes to the deal (PA Wire)
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the DUP could seek changes to the deal (PA Wire)

Royal commentator brands King’s meeting with von der Leyen ‘error’

17:28 , Daniel Keane

Royal commentator Peter Hunt said of the meeting between the King and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen: “This is a very serious error of judgment by King Charles and his advisers.”

The former BBC royal correspondent tweeted: “He’s abandoned his unifying role and entered the political fray, in a foolish bid to be seen as statesmanlike.

“History won’t be kind. Someone’s head will roll.”

Reaction in Ireland: Foreign minister says deal offers 'genuine response’ to unionist concerns

17:38 , Daniel Keane

Ireland’s foreign minister and deputy leader, has said that the new Brexit agreement is a “genuine response” to the concerns of Northern Ireland’s unionist community.

He said that a “new way forward” on the protocol was “very welcome”.

"This new agreement, the Windsor Framework, is the result of genuine engagement, and of the EU and UK working together and listening to the concerns raised by elected representatives, citizens and business in Northern Ireland.

"From the outset, we have always said that the only sustainable outcome is one based on jointly agreed solutions. I heard first-hand the concerns of many unionists. I believe they will see in this a genuine response to their genuine concerns."

Sinn Fein ‘working through details’ of deal

17:49 , Daniel Keane

Sinn Féin’s deputy leader Michelle O’Neill has said her party is “working through” the details of the Brexit deal but welcomed the “pragmatism” shown by the EU and the UK in negotiations.

She said that the public in Northern Ireland “will very quickly now turn to the fact that we need to be in Stormont” and “tackling things like the health service, creating jobs and growing our economy”.

Stormont has not had a Government in a year due to the collapse of the power sharing agreement over the Northern Ireland Protocol, with the DUP refusing to form a Government.

The extended deadlock has left civil servants running key departments and overseeing Stormont’s budget.

Ms O’Neill went on: “The details are still coming hot off the press. We are working through all of that detail.

"I welcome the fact that a deal has been done. We have always said that it was possible to have a deal. We have always said with pragmatism, solutions can be found.

"The fact that both sides have arrived at this point today, that is something that will be well received."

UK’s science community hails Brexit deal

18:01 , Daniel Keane

The UK’s scientific community has expressed relief after EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that the new Brexit deal could pave the way for the UK to join the EU’s flagship research programme.

Access to the £88.6 billion “Horizon” scheme was ruled out by the EU due to a row over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Asked whether the agreement would help the UK's bid to access Horizon, Ms von der Leyen told a press conference in Windsor: "Yes, this Windsor Framework is good news for scientists and researchers in the European Union and in the UK.”

Dr Mark Downs, Chief Executive, Royal Society of Biology (RSB), said of the announcement: “This is something the scientific community has been hoping and advocating for. We now seek clarity on next steps as a matter of urgency – the Government needs to secure the potential of UK science with international collaboration and the development of research environments in which it can thrive.”

Dr Daniel Rathbone, Assistant Director, Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), said: “The UK’s science relationship with the EU has been ‘on ice’ for the last few years, with the UK’s association to Horizon Europe stalled pending resolution of the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) negotiations.

“Therefore, I am thrilled that President von der Leyen said that today’s NIP agreement is ‘good news for scientists and researchers across the UK and EU’ and that work can start on association immediately, once the NIP deal is implemented.”

Sunak to address MPs in half an hour

18:12 , Daniel Keane

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will address MPs in the House of Commons in around half an hour.

Mr Sunak will face a grilling from MPs just hours after announcing a new Brexit agreement with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

A vote on the agreement is not expected until later this week.

Business leader praises deal as ‘breakthrough'

18:17 , Daniel Keane

The head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has praised Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal, saying the UK and EU deserved praise for “resolving the deadlock” over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Tony Danker, director-general of the trade body, which represents some 190,000 UK businesses, said the deal would help the public in Northern Ireland to stop feeling as if economic and political life “had been on hold”.

He added: “This breakthrough will allow businesses and politicains to turn their attention to economic growth and delivering greater prosperity for everyone across Northern Ireland.”

Signs of DUP opposition as MP says deal ‘doesn’t cut the mustard’

18:23 , Daniel Keane

The first sign of significant opposition from the DUP has emerged after an MP said that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal “does not cut the mustard”.

Ian Paisley, the DUP MP, told BBC Newsnight’s Nicholas Watt that the Windsor Framework does not provide a basis for the DUP to go back into Government.

He said that Mr Sunak would need to enter fresh negotiations with the EU.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson had previously hailed “progress” on the deal but said that “significant” issues remain.

Mandelson: Brexit deal ‘knocks the stuffing’ out of Boris Johnson

18:28 , Daniel Keane

Lord Mandelson has said he “warmly welcomes” Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal and said it “knocks the stuffing” out of Boris Johnson, who had previously indicated opposition to the agreement.

The former Labour minister told Sky News: “The EU has now agreed some very major changes, I think it’s original approach was too rigid and literal. Now it’s stepped back considerably, and in the process it has knocked the stuffing out of Boris Johnson.

“I’m sure he’d love to have found ways to beat his successor over the head, but he has no leg to stand on. The agreement is as good as it gets.”

Sources close to Mr Johnson had previously suggested that he could intervene and publicly oppose the deal, in what would have marked a setback for Mr Sunak in his quest to gain support among the Tory right.

MPs laugh as Sunak pays tribute to predecessors for ‘laying groundwork’ for deal

18:39 , Daniel Keane

MPs in the House of Commons laughed as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak paid tribute to his predecessors Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, who negotiated with the EU.

Mr Sunak said that the former Prime Ministers had “laid the groundwork for this agreement”, prompting laughter on the backbenches.

He went on to say that the UK and EU had made a “decisive breakthrough”.

“The Windsor Framework delivers free flowing trade within the whole United kingdom. It safeguards sovereignty for the people of Northern Ireland.

“It does what many said could not be done - removes thousands of EU laws. That is the breakthrough we have made, those are the changes we will deliver.”

Sunak: This agreement removes ‘any sense’ of a border in the Irish Sea

18:42 , Daniel Keane

Mr Sunak said that the Protocol created “extra costs and paperwork” for businesses and “limited choice” for the people of Northern Ireland.

“Today’s agreement removes any sense of a border within the Irish Sea. We have secured a key negotiating objective - a green lane for goods entering Northern Ireland for Britain.

“We have also permanently protected tariff-free movement of all types of steel.”

He told MPs that the legally binding guarantee in the WIndsor Framework for the green lane would “permanently remove” the sense of a border in the Irish Sea.

Rishi Sunak (Sky News)
Rishi Sunak (Sky News)

Sunak: If it’s available in the UK it will be available in Northern Ireland

18:45 , Daniel Keane

Mr Sunak emphasises that the ban on British products, such as sausages, entering Northern Ireland would be scrapped a result of the deal.

“If it’s available on supermarket shelves in Great Britain, then it will be available on shelves in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“We have delivered a form of dual regulation for food... Under the Protocol, retail food products could not be sold in Northern Ireland. Today's agreement completely changes that."

Neither Boris Johnson or Liz Truss spotted in Chamber

18:47 , Daniel Keane

Former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss have not been seen in the Commons chamber, according to reports.

The Telegraph’s Christopher Hope claims that neither former PM have turned up to Rishi Sunak’s address to MPs.

Both were thanked by Mr Sunak earlier in his address for “laying the groundwork” for his deal, prompting laughter among some MPs.

UK medicines to be available in Northern Ireland, says Sunak

18:52 , Daniel Keane

Mr Sunak said that medicines approved by the UK regulator will now be available in Northern Ireland.

“Imagine someone suffering from cancer in Belfast seeing a drug available everywhere else in the UK but unable to access it at home.

“When the current grace period ends in 2024 the situation will get worse still. Companies would have to manufacture drugs with two supply chains.

“To fix this today’s agreement achiveves something unprecedented - dual regulation for medicines.

"This is a permanent solution that brings peace of mind.”

There will be some role for EU law in Northern Ireland, says Sunak

18:58 , Daniel Keane

Mr Sunak concedes there will be “some role” for EU law in Northern Ireland to prevent the return of a hard border.

“The question is, what is the minimum amount necessary to avoid a hard border? Today’s agreement scraps 1,700 pages of EU law.

“The amount that applies in northern Ireland is less than 3 per cent. And the people of Northern Ireland retain the right to reject that through next year’s consent vote.”

Paisley says deal ‘falls some way short’ of satisfying DUP’s seven tests

19:01 , Daniel Keane

Away from the Commons, the DUP’s Ian Paisley has said that the NI Protocol deal “falls some way short” of satisfying the party’s seven tests.

He told GB News: “Therefore whilst the Prime Minister continues to have a protocol effectively still be in operation, that will effectively still see ECJ rule in Northern Ireland, that will still see us subject to single market rules as opposed to fully UK rules, unfortunately that means that powersharing does not look like it’s coming back any time soon.”

Mr Paisley added: “So far my gut instinct is this does not cut the mustard.”

Starmer: Labour will support PM’s deal ‘if in the interests of Northern Ireland'

19:02 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir Starmer says that Labour will support the PM’s deal and “stick to our word”.

“We will not snipe or play political games. When the PM puts this forward for a vote, Labour will support it and vote for it.

“The Protocol will never be perfect, it is a compromise. But I’ve always been clear that, if implemented correctly, it can work in the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.”

Starmer praises green and red lane proposals

19:06 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir says that the “red and green lane proposal is a good one”.

He went on: “It will make life easier for business and people in Northern Ireland will be able to participate more freely in the economic life of the UK.

“The deal will ensure there is no hard border on the island of Ireland. This would have been a source of tension.”

Sir Keir said that the Government’s previous threats to renege on the Protocol and “break international law” had “damaged” the UK’s standing.

“I am encouraged that the DUP will look carefully at the measures it contains,” he added.

May urges Tory MPs to back deal

19:12 , Daniel Keane

Former Prime Minister Theresa May urges colleagues in her party to support the Government’s deal.

She congratulated Rishi Sunak and his team on their work to securing a negotiated settlement.

“The best move now is for everyone across this House to support this settlement. That is what is in the best interests of all the people of Northern Ireland.”

SNP to back Brexit deal

19:18 , Daniel Keane

The Scottish National Party will back Rishi Sunak’s deal, the party’s Westminster spokesman Stephen Flynn has said.

“Broadly speaking I’m fully supportive of the agreement,” he said.

“It seeks to safeguard peace, protect the Good Friday Agreement and provide a pathway back to the democratic institutions in Northern Ireland being able to sit.”

Donaldson: Progress has been made but we will seek clarification

19:23 , Daniel Keane

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says that the DUP will study the Windsor Framework but admitted that “progress” had been made.

“Progress has been secured across a number of areas while recognising there remains key issues of concern. In some sectors, EU law remains applicable in our part of the UK.

“My party will want to study the detail of what has been published today. Where necessary we stand ready to engage with the Government in order to seek further clarification.

“We will now assess this against our seven tests.”

Davey says Lib Dems ‘welcome spirit of partnership’ between EU and UK

19:35 , Daniel Keane

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has said his party will “closely study” the Brexit deal but that they “welcome the spirit of partnership and compromise” between the EU and the UK.

But he asks Rishi Sunak whether the “Stormont brake” will not undermine stability in Northern Ireland.

The “Stormont brake” will allow the Northern Ireland assembly to prevent EU single market rules from applying in the region.

Mr Sunak denies that the “Stormont brake” will cause tensions in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Secretary hails ‘enormous step forward'

19:38 , Daniel Keane

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has said the Brexit deal is an “enormous step forward” for the country.

“I congratulate Rishi Sunak and my colleagues on the frontbench for the phenomenal focus that they are putting into ensuring that we can secure a deal that we all I know will hope can restore power-sharing in Stormont.”

Boris Johnson ‘still considering new Brexit deal'

19:42 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson is believed to still be considering the new deal on the protocol negotiated by Rishi Sunak.

A source close to the former prime minister said that he is continuing to study and reflect on the Government's proposals.

Previously, allies of Mr Johnson had briefed that he was considering making his opposition to the deal public. It would have set up an embarassing confrontation between the PM and his former Cabinet colleague.

Brexiteers and Remainers ‘would have jumped on this deal in the past five years’

19:48 , Daniel Keane

Dame Andrea Leadsom praised the PM and his Cabinet for negotiating an “excellent deal”.

“If this deal had been available over the last five years, Brexiteers and Remainers would have jumped on it,” she said.

But she asked the PM to confirm whether the deal “fully restores” the act of union and Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Sunak that he “absolutely” believes that it meets both tests.

Sammy Wilson says DUP ‘fears our position in UK still won’t be restored’

19:52 , Daniel Keane

Sammy Wilson, of the DUP, says he welcomed the PM’s “confession” about the “damage” the Protocol had done to Northern Ireland but admitted the party still had reservations over the Brexit agreement.

“Although he talks about 1,700 pages of EU law being removed, hundreds of thousands of pages will still remain. Border posts are still being rebuilt.”

He adds: “We still fear out position within the UK will not be restored by this agreement.”

Mr Sunak says that the border posts would only remain for checks in the red lane.

Francois: Brexiteers need assurances of ‘no nasty surprises'

20:00 , Daniel Keane

Mark Francois, a Tory MP and member of the European Research Group (ERG), asks Mr Sunak for assurance that the detailed legal text of the deal doesn’t contain “any nasty surprises”.

Mr Sunak says that, once the ERG study the text, they will realise it is a “good deal” that “protects” the sovereignty of Northern Ireland.

The backing of the ERG has previously been crucial for Prime Ministers when passing Brexit legislation through the House.

Steve Baker, a Tory MP and member of the ERG, has given the deal his “overwhelming” backing in a boost for Mr Sunak.

Paisley criticises agricultural aspect of Brexit deal

20:15 , Daniel Keane

Ian Paisley, an MP for the DUP, points out that the “grace period” in the deal that applies to Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector “will expire in less than a year and a half”.

“Prime Minister, that is utterly useless for our agricultural sector,” he says.

“Our farmers are not amused in Northern Ireland, it is our single largest trade. Will these issues be fixed or is this a failed process already?"

Mr Sunak said he was focused on “supporting our farmers, whether they're in Northern Ireland or indeed Yorkshire”.

Rishi Sunak wins support from senior Tories on new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland

20:40 , Daniel Keane

That’s all from us on a busy day of politics.

You can find a summary of today’s events here as Rishi Sunak announced a “decisive breakthrough” on post-Brexit rules.