Eurosceptic Tories withdraw support for NI deal. Will Rishi Sunak have to rely on Labour?

Mark Francois: he reckons the ‘Stormont Brake’ is “practically useless”.

This could be hugely embarrassing for Rishi Sunak.

After triumphantly trumpeting his ‘Windsor Framework’ for trade between Northern Ireland, the European Union and Great Britain, and claiming that it should win huge support from MPs, a hugely-influential group of his own party has turned against it.

The European Research Group (ERG) has said the so-called ‘Stormont Brake’, on which Commons MPs are due to vote tomorrow (March 22), is “practically useless”.

This mechanism is intended to give Northern Ireland greater influence on how EU laws are applied there.

ERG chairman Mark Francois has said the group has not decided whether to vote against it, but is leaving the decision to individual members.

But the criticism follows an announcement by Northern Irish MPs from the Democratic Unionist Party that they will not support it.

It puts Rishi Sunak in the excruciating position of potentially having to rely on support for his deal from Keir Starmer’s Labour Party, despite having a Parliamentary majority of around 80 MPs.

If I recall correctly, Sunak has regularly scorned such offers of support for individual policies.

What will it say about his leadership if he can only win the vote with support he didn’t want to have?

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