Rishi Sunak has told Tory MPs not to create drama over a Brexit deal

  • By Peggy Morton & David Wallace Lockhart
  • BBC Politics

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has urged his MPs not to create “another Westminster drama” as he tries to win their support for his new Brexit deal.

He told backbench Tories to give the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) “time and space” to consider the deal.

The deal with the EU aims to resolve issues with post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland.

The DUP’s support will be key to restoring Northern Ireland’s devolved government.

Because of concerns about the current arrangements for Northern Ireland, the party is boycotting Stormont, preventing a devolved government from functioning.

DUP leader Sir Geoffrey Donaldson said the new deal goes “some way” towards addressing his party’s concerns but there are some issues.

He said the party would take time to study the details and take a “joint decision”.

Meanwhile, the European Research Group (ERG), a group of pro-Brexit Tory MPs who heard from Sir Geoffrey at a meeting on Tuesday, has appointed what it calls a “star chamber” of lawyers to examine the deal.

ERG chairman Marc Francois said the group’s “legal vultures” could take about a fortnight or more to go through it with a “very fine-toothed comb”.

He also said it was “wise” for the Prime Minister to give time to the DUP.

Mr Sunack addressed a group of Tory backbenchers in 1922 after visiting Northern Ireland to promote his deal.

“And I’ll just say one thing to all of you: we need to give him and the DUP time and space,” he said, adding there was a “spectrum of views” within the party.

“So don’t force them for an immediate response,” Mr Sunak added.

“Let’s remember that the last thing the public wants is another Westminster drama.”

A response from Tory MPs Windsor structure Broadly positive since Monday’s announcement.

Following Mr Chung’s speech to the committee in 1922, an aide of former prime minister Boris Johnson said “he did a good job”, while another Brexiteer said the prime minister’s words had gone down well.

Another Tory MP was deeply skeptical last week that Mr Sunak could reach an acceptable deal, telling the BBC they would have to “eat humble pie” as the Prime Minister did.

The MP said negotiators had “squared the circle” and the “Stormont brake” mechanism, aimed at giving the Northern Ireland Assembly more say over how EU laws apply, was a creative solution to be welcomed.

The Nationalist Party has welcomed the Windsor framework, although it said it still needs to work out the details.

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