RISHI Sunak is set to seal a new Brexit deal TODAY, with allies saying the PM won big concessions from Brussels.
Mr Sunak and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen will meet at lunchtime in No10 to iron out the final details of an agreement on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will meet in Downing Street at lunchtime to iron out the final details of a new Brexit deal[/caption]
Once a deal is done, Mr Sunak will update his Cabinet before the pair make a formal announcement at a press conference in Windsor.
The EU and Britain have been striving to secure a new arrangement before the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement in April to smooth trade problems over the border and get the government in Stormont back up and running.
Q&A: SO WHY DID IT ALL DRAG ON?
Q) What is the Northern Ireland protocol?
A) It is a deal with the EU to avoid a hard border on the Irish mainland.
The EU insists goods which could enter its single market in the Republic of Ireland comply with its rules.
The protocol allowed some checks to take place on goods travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
Q) What’s the problem?
A) The protocol created a border in the Irish Sea, splitting off NI from the rest of the UK.
Sometimes the checks are so onerous businesses on the mainland refuse to sell goods in NI, leading to shortages.
Q) How is PM Rishi Sunak proposing to fix this?
A) The EU will agree to a new system of red and green lanes. Goods from GB destined for NI only would be subject to minimal checks.
There will also be a Stormont lock to give elected politicians in NI a say over which EU rules they follow.
Q) Will this end the row?
A) Unlikely. Anything requiring NI to still follow EU rules on product standards will be unacceptable to many.
Following hours of negotiations, Brussels agreed to a new system of red and green lanes for goods crossing from Britain into the province.
Products destined for NI only will be subject to minimal checks in the green lane, while those heading to the Republic will go through customs checks in the red lane.
There will also be a “Stormont lock” to give elected politicians in NI a say over which EU trade rules they follow.
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Mr Sunak’s new deal won’t get a tick of approval from everyone.
Some members of the Brexiteer European Research Group have marked any involvement of the European Court of Justice in the province as a red line.
Unionist MPs have said the same, however they’ll wait to read the fine print before confirming disapproval.
All eyes will also be on ex-PM Boris Johnson, who over the past week spoke out against Mr Sunak’s efforts to end the dispute.
How Boris reacts today could influence levels of Tory backlash in response to the new deal.
It could even pave the way to a leadership challenge by the PM’s predecessor – though for now that’s unlikely.
This morning chief Brexiteer and ex-minister Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested Mr Sunak will fail to win over the DUP.
He told Good Morning Britain: “”From what I’ve heard, the PM has done very well.
“But I’m not sure he has achieved the objective of getting the DUP back into power sharing, which is the fundamental point of it.
“I’m afraid with all the EU deals the devil is in the detail, so when people say ‘we need to see the legal text’, they are not larking about, they really want to see it to understand what the effect is.”
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Regardless of rebel rousers, Mr Sunak is ready to push through with his deal.
And Sir Keir Starmer said he’ll lend the PM Labour votes if the deal is put to the Commons.