MPs pass key part of Rishi Sunak’s Northern Ireland Brexit deal

MPs pass key part of Rishi Sunak’s Northern Ireland Brexit deal
Опубликовано: Wednesday, 22 March 2023 14:20

House of Commons votes 515 to 29 in favor of the so-called Stormont Brake.

LONDON — A key part of Rishi Sunak’s Northern Ireland Brexit deal has sailed through the House of Commons despite a small Conservative rebellion.

The House of Commons voted 515 to 29 in favor of the plan, after the opposition Labour, Scottish National Party and Liberal Democrats also voted to support the so-called Stormont Brake — a part of the U.K.-EU Windsor Framework that aims to fix issues with the post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol.

Twenty-two Conservative MPs — including former prime ministers Liz Truss and Boris Johnson — voted against the proposal, meaning Sunak’s Commons majority was not significantly threatened.

However, Commons records show 48 other Tories either abstained or were excused from the vote.

The Stormont Brake is intended to allow the currently-deadlocked Northern Ireland Assembly to object to new EU regulations set to apply in the region — a key concern for Northern Irish unionists who do not want to be separated further from the rest of the U.K.

The eight MPs from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) also voted against the brake Wednesday and are maintaining their opposition to Sunak’s wider deal — known as the Windsor Framework — for now.

Ex-prime ministers Johnson and Truss refused to back Sunak today, with some of their most loyal supporters also following suit.

Other hardline Tory Euroskeptics also voted against the government, with senior MP Bill Cash telling the House of Commons: "We have left the EU... and yet all laws passed before we left in relation to the single market still apply to and subjugate the people of Northern Ireland to the EU."

Defending the plan, Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said: "I think people who know what they’re talking about understand this is a very, very good deal."

Conservative MP and former Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith called for Wednesday to mark "the end chapter" of parliament’s divisive Brexit debates and said: "I think this chapter is one we are are all delighted to be ending."

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