Rishi Sunak faces a revolt over the Northern Ireland Brexit deal under discussion

Rishi Sunak faces a revolt over the debated Northern Ireland Brexit deal as Tories and DUP warn European judges must NOT have powers over the province

  • Rishi Sunak is said to be close to an agreement with the EU over Northern Ireland
  • PM could concede that European judges have a say in provincial disputes

Rishi Sunak faces a revolt over Northern Ireland’s Brexit rules as the Tories and DUP warn he must not cede control to EU judges.

There is growing speculation that the Prime Minister is ready to agree that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will continue to play a role in settling disputes over the province.

The UK and Brussels have been locked in intense negotiations to try to resolve the longstanding dispute over post-Brexit rules.

The bitter dispute over the protocol has broken down power-sharing and the DUP is boycotting Northern Ireland’s institutions.

Rishi Sunak faces a revolt over Northern Ireland's Brexit rules as the Tories and DUP warn he must not cede control to EU judges

Rishi Sunak faces a revolt over Northern Ireland’s Brexit rules as the Tories and DUP warn he must not cede control to EU judges

There is growing speculation that the Prime Minister is ready to agree that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will continue to play a role in settling disputes over the province

There is growing speculation that the Prime Minister is ready to agree that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will continue to play a role in settling disputes over the province

This has prevented the establishment of a functioning Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly since last May’s election.

The sides are believed to be close to an agreement that could be finalized before the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday deal in April.

However, Cabinet ministers recognize that a moment of danger will lie ahead for Mr Sunak as he will have to make compromises with both the Brexiteer-ERG faction in his own party and the DUP – which is demanding the protocol be scrapped.

Rumors are circulating that ministers are about to admit that the ECJ can be the final arbiter of EU laws applying in Northern Ireland.

There are claims that the UK will seek safeguards to prevent the European Commission from referring disputes directly to its court.

Instead, spats would be dealt with by an independent body that would consult the ECJ.

David Jones – ERG deputy leader – and DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson warned against attempting a ‘fudge’ in the Sunday Telegraph.

“The ultimate test of any deal will be whether it ends Northern Ireland’s semi-colonial status as a client of the EU and automatically accepts EU laws without any input from elected officials,” they wrote in a joint article.

“This is a fundamental problem that simply cannot be circumvented. An agreement should not only address the protocol’s symptoms by reducing the level of controls.

Maros Sefcovic

Jeffrey Donaldson

Maros Sefcovic (left) led the discussions for the EU. The DUP (leader Jeffrey Donaldson pictured right) has previously called for the protocol to be scrapped altogether

“It must also resolve the root cause of these controls, which is the fact that Northern Ireland is trapped in EU single market rules, semi-detached from the rest of the UK and therefore at constant risk of future regulatory divergences from Great Britain.

“Ultimately, an agreement that only serves the short-term interests of the UK and EU but does not represent a lasting agreement between these two parties and all of Northern Ireland’s traditions will be futile.

“Unionist politicians will not accept that. It will be a failure of statesmanship of historic proportions.’

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Emma Colton

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