MPs overwhelmingly vote for Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal despite revolt led by Boris Johnson

·4 min read

MPs have overwhelmingly voted in favour of Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal, despite Boris Johnson and Liz Truss leading a revolt against the plan.

Regulations to implement the Stormont brake section of the Windsor Framework passed by 515 votes to 29 - a majority of 486.

There were 22 Tory MPs who voted against the deal on Wednesday, including Mr Johnson, Ms Truss, former Home Secretary Priti Patel and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith also rebelled. Ex party chairman Sir Jake Berry and ex cabinet minister Simon Clarke also rejected the proposals, as did six DUP MPs and independent MP Andrew Bridgen.

The European Research Group (ERG) of Eurosceptic Tory MPs recommended its 20-or so members did not support the Government.

Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP Mr Johnson earlier said: “The proposed arrangements would mean either that Northern Ireland remained captured by the EU legal order – and was increasingly divergent from the rest of the UK – or they would mean that the whole of the UK was unable properly to diverge and take advantage of Brexit.

“That is not acceptable. I will be voting against the proposed arrangements today.

“Instead, the best course of action is to proceed with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, and make sure that we take back control.”

Ms Truss believed the deal with the EU does not satisfactorily resolve the issues encountered in the Northern Ireland Protocol and infringes on the UK’s ability to separate from EU rules and regulations.

But Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, ahead of the vote, told MPs: “Without this measure, Northern Ireland would continue to have full and automatic dynamic alignment with EU goods rules with no say for the Northern Ireland Assembly and no veto for amending or replacing those measures.

“That is an intolerable situation and I urge all MPs to vote to end that full and automatic dynamic alignment.”

Mr Johnson agreed the original Northern Ireland Protocol with Brussels as a way to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

He was accused of misselling his deal and told he risks becoming a “pound shop Nigel Farage” by voting against an attempt to fix it.

Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker criticised Mr Johnson’s decision to come out against the revised Brexit terms.

Mr Baker, an ardent Brexiteer who was influential in bringing an end to Theresa May’s premiership following Tory dissatisfaction with her approach to EU negotiations, said the former Tory party leaders should “be backing the Windsor Framework”.

He said: “What I would say is they are both better than this.

“We’ve partly reached this point thanks to Liz Truss setting the process in train.

“And today’s measures are better, of course, than the protocol that Boris Johnson put in place, a protocol which he spoke about and those things turned out not to be accurate.

“So he has a choice: he can be remembered for the great acts of statecraft that he achieved or he can risk looking like a pound shop Nigel Farage.”

Labour backed the Windsor Framework agreement signed last month.

It comes as Mr Johnson faces a grilling by MPs on Wednesday.

He appeared in front of the Privileges Committee, which is investigating whether he knowingly misled Parliament over partygate.

MPs are considering at least four occasions when Mr Johnson may have misled MPs with his assurances.

If the committee upholds the accusation it could spell the end of his political career. The committee has the power to recommend a range of sanctions, including a 10-day suspension from the House of Commons.

This could result in a recall petition, which if signed by 10 per cent of his constituents would result in a by-election in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat in west London.

MPs would vote on any recommendations made by the committee.

Mr Sunak has committed to giving his MPs a free vote over his predecessor’s fate, but has declined to reject claims from some of Mr Johnson’s allies that the process is a “witch hunt”.

Mr Johnson has admitted he misled the House of Commons when he said lockdown rules were followed in No 10 at all times, but insisted he would not have “dreamed” of “intentionally or recklessly” doing so.