Rishi Sunak faces Tory rebellion over Brexit deal as influential eurosceptic group refuses to greenlight Windsor framework
- Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hopes to prevent a major Tory uprising on Wednesday
Eurosceptic MPs are poised to reject Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal next week, Tory sources said last night.
The prime minister hopes to avoid a major Tory uprising on Wednesday when he puts his ‘Windsor Framework’ deal to a vote.
But a former minister told the Daily Mail that a major report for the powerful Eurosceptic Research Group of Tory MPs (ERG) will seal the deal is not good enough.
The group commissioned a ‘star chamber’ of legal experts to study the deal – which concerns trade in goods between the UK and Northern Ireland – before passing judgment. The report is expected on Monday.
A source with knowledge of the progress said: ‘The star room will not greenlight the deal. From what I’ve seen, the findings will be pretty bad for the government.
The PM hopes to avoid a major Tory uprising on Wednesday when he puts his ‘Windsor Framework’ deal to a vote
The problem is that the deal is ultimately not legally binding on the EU. Whatever you think of their concessions, they can revoke them at any time.
“The vote is not in jeopardy because Labor will support it, but I think you will see quite a few colleagues struggling to vote for it.”
Several senior eurosceptics have publicly supported the prime minister’s deal, including former Brexit secretary David Davis, former trade secretary Liam Fox and former ERG chairman Steve Baker.
Boris Johnson warned the deal would act as a ‘trailing anchor’ for the UK’s ability to forge its own path post-Brexit, adding: ‘I will find it very difficult to vote for something like this myself.’
But the former prime minister will not be able to voice his concerns during next week’s debate as it is timed to coincide with his appearance for the controversial Partygate inquiry.
ERG Chairman Mark Francois said: ‘We are still awaiting the outcome of the detailed legal audit of the Windsor Framework Star Chamber.’ A spokesperson for No 10 said: ‘We believe this is the best deal for the people of Northern Ireland.’