- Rishi Sunak is set to announce a deal to end the long-running dispute over the post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol
- The proposed agreement, tentatively named the “Windsor agreement”, would overhaul post-Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland
- The deal is expected to include the establishment of an arbitration panel involving Northern Irish and EU judges
- Northern Irish courts would have a say over public health issues
- MPs may get a say on any agreement, but a vote remains “hypothetical” until a deal is struck
Rishi Sunak to Announce Deal to End Northern Ireland Protocol Dispute
Rishi Sunak is set to announce a deal to end the long-running dispute over the post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol as soon as Monday. This would mark the end of two years of negotiations between the UK and the EU.
MPs have been put on a three-line whip to attend parliament on Monday and cabinet ministers are braced for a potential conference call over the weekend.
Discussions are under way in Downing Street about inviting the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, to the UK for a handshake to seal the deal.
Details of the Proposed Agreement
The proposed agreement, tentatively named the “Windsor agreement”, would overhaul post-Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland and pave the way for the re-establishment of an assembly in Stormont.
Last week, prominent MPs in the ERG, including its deputy chair, David Jones, warned that if Sunak’s deal involved a tweak of the existing arrangements it would amount to nothing more than a “glossary on how to implement the protocol”.
Government sources have said that the prime minister is relaxed about the threat of a backlash from the ERG and the DUP because he believes the deal will address all their concerns.
The Northern Ireland secretary, Chris Heaton-Harris, held an unscheduled meeting with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Maroš Šefčovič, on Thursday.
What is Included in the Deal?
The deal is expected to include the establishment of an arbitration panel involving Northern Irish and EU judges as the first port of call in the event of a dispute, with Northern Irish courts having a say over public health issues.
It is not believed that the deal includes a new arrangement to safeguard the supply of medicines to Northern Ireland.
Sunak hinted on Wednesday that MPs would get a say on any agreement, but No 10 later clarified that the prospect of a vote remained “hypothetical” until a deal was struck.
On Friday, a House of Lords committee warned the foreign secretary not to forget the problems with the supply of medicines to Northern Ireland in their protocol negotiations.
Downing Street sources have not confirmed whether a deal will be announced in the coming days, but have said that talks are continuing and that any discussion of timings is “purely speculative”. It remains to be seen whether the proposed agreement will be accepted by all parties involved.
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