UNITED KINGDOM: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak easily prevailed in a House of Commons vote on his revised post-Brexit plan for Northern Ireland by a score of 515 to 29 despite facing a Conservative insurrection led by three former party leaders.
Sunak’s Brexit plan for Northern Ireland passed
It is unknown if any of the 48 additional Conservatives who abstained from voting for Sunak’s Ireland strategy, did so on purpose.
Even though this is a bigger revolt than anticipated earlier this week, some had predicted that once Johnson and Truss stated on Wednesday that they would vote against the legislation, as many as 30 or 40 Tories may rebel.
Sunak and his ministers did not require the support of the opposition to pass the bill, as would have been the case if at least 34 Tory MPs had rebelled. This is good news for No. 10 because it prevented them from having to rely on opposition votes.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader, Jeffrey Donaldson, claimed that there was no “sustainable basis at this stage” for the party to rejoin the power-sharing executive as a result of the Brexit agreement Sunak reached with the EU.
The European Research Group (ERG), a group of Brexit-supporting Conservative MPs previously led by Baker, advised its members not to back the proposal, which updates the protocol Johnson agreed to and aims to facilitate trade in products between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. The DUP also spoke out against the agreement.
Only one provision of the agreement—the so-called Stormont brake veto on new EU laws—was intended to be ratified by the referendum, which used the Windsor framework as its formal reference.
Nevertheless, it has been seen as the acceptance of the entire plan. The outcome will also benefit Chris Heaton-Harris, a fervent Brexit supporter and current secretary for Northern Ireland.
Earlier, Donaldson stated in a tweet that the DUP would not be returning to Stormont because there was “not a sustainable basis at this stage to enable us to restore Stormont.” The DUP has been boycotting Northern Ireland’s devolved assembly for more than a year in opposition to the current post-Brexit protocol.
In order to strengthen their support base, some experts believe the DUP will wait until the May assembly elections, even though they could eventually return.
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