London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

Rishi Sunak travels to Belfast in sign NI protocol deal is imminent

Rishi Sunak travels to Belfast in sign NI protocol deal is imminent

Visit suggests announcement of UK-EU solution on Northern Ireland could come as early as Friday
Rishi Sunak arrived in Belfast on Thursday night, in a sign that a deal on the Northern Ireland protocol is imminent.

The foreign secretary, James Cleverly, will also travel to Brussels on Friday for talks with the European Commission vice-president, Maroš Šefčovič.

The movements suggest that an announcement of a negotiated solution between the UK and EU could come as early as Friday. Sunak is being accompanied by the Northern Ireland secretary, Chris Heaton-Harris, Downing Street said. Security is already in place at a central Belfast hotel.

A No 10 spokesperson said: “Whilst talks with the EU are ongoing, ministers continue to engage with relevant stakeholders to ensure any solution fixes the practical problems on the ground, meets our overarching objectives and safeguards Northern Ireland’s place in the UK’s internal market.

“The prime minister and secretary of state for Northern Ireland are travelling to Northern Ireland this evening to speak to political parties as part of this engagement process.”

EU Diplomats have reportedly been summoned to a briefing on Friday, with speculation that a draft deal is about to be shared and road tested both in Belfast and Brussels.

A UK government spokesperson confirmed Cleverly’s meetings in Brussels but played down the prospect of a deal being unveiled on Friday.

“This is part of their ongoing engagement and constructive dialogue with the EU to find practical solutions that work for the people of Northern Ireland,” they said.

A deal would conclude four months of negotiations to end a row that has caused fissures in the Tory party for the past three years and led to the suspension of power-sharing in Belfast.

An agreement has been on the cards for the last four weeks and is expected to include a settlement on an elimination of some checks on goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, and a new dispute resolution mechanism not involving the European court of justice in the first instance.

Checks and governance were sources of tension in the Conservative party and with the Democratic Unionist party. The government is expected to say its new deal complies with the strict seven tests the DUP set in exchange for its support.

Earlier this week, Nigel Dodds, a former deputy leader of the DUP, indicated that the DUP would not be supporting any deal that continued regulatory divergence between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, claiming this would continue the “colonisation” of Northern Ireland by the EU.

A government source said: “The DUP have published in black and white what their seven tests are. We believe this meets them, otherwise we wouldn’t have brought the negotiation team home nearly a week ago.”

A breakthrough has already been made on reducing checks on goods moving from Britain to Northern Ireland, with a “green lane” involving no customs declarations being proposed for food and farm produce destined for Northern Irish supermarkets, corner shops, hospitals, schools and prisons and other public settings.

Negotiators have agreed that products for retail should go through this “green” lane, with discussions continuing on how to deal with wholesalers who supply to independent shops and hospitality.

Talks have also been continuing on how to deal with “intermediary” goods, including components which may end up in finished products destined for sale in the EU’s single market.

A new path has been agreed in principle on governance and the role of the European court of justice in dispute resolution, a source of considerable political problems for Sunak with the DUP and hardline Brexiters in the European Research Group of Tory MPs.
Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
Russia's Electronic Warfare Neutralizes Western Weapons in Ukraine
Trump Challenges Biden to Debate and Golf Match
Macron Accuses Israeli Minister of Election Interference
US Senator Highlights Weaknesses in Western Military Industry During Ukraine Conflict
George Clooney Urges Biden to Withdraw from Presidential Race
Political Shift in the UK: A Detailed Analysis of Labour's Victory and Future Prospects
Viktor Orbán's Peace Mission: A Diplomatic Controversy in the EU
India Advocates Peace and Prosperity: PM Modi's Speech in Austria
New UK PM Keir Starmer Reaffirms Strong Support for Ukraine at NATO Summit
Spain PM Pedro Sanchez Denounces Double Standards on Gaza at NATO Summit
UK Police Arrest Suspect in Crossbow Attack After Three Women Killed
Sunita Williams Safe on ISS, to Address Earth on July 10
Biden Affirms Commitment To Presidential Race
France Faces Political Turmoil and Airport Strikes Ahead of Paris Olympics 2024
Putin Hosts PM Modi for a Private Meeting
TSMC: The Taiwanese Chip Giant Valued Over $1 Trillion
Boeing Pleads Guilty Over 737 MAX Crashes
2024 Predicted to Be World's Hottest Year
Iran's President-Elect Masoud Pezeshkian Reiterates Support for Hezbollah
White House Denies Biden Being Treated for Parkinson's Disease
Biden to Meet New UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer
Biden Insists on Continuing Presidential Race Amid Criticism
UK Defence Minister Pledges Enhanced Support to Ukraine
French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal Resigns After Election Setback
Macron Faces New Political Challenges Despite Election Relief
France's Far-Right Falls Short in Parliamentary Elections
Key Figures in France's Left-Wing New Popular Front Bloc
England Reaches Euro 2024 Semifinals After Penalty Shootout Win
Rishi Sunak Apologizes After Historic Tory Defeat
Voter Discontent in Recent UK and French Elections
Trump was recorded attacking Biden: "I kicked the old pile of shit"
Understanding the MRP Method in UK Elections
US Officials Resign Over Biden's Gaza Policy
First-Time Immigrant Voters Aim to Influence UK Elections 2024
Reform UK Receives Major Donations from Brexit Campaign Group
Tata Steel Strike Called Off, Paving the Way for Crucial Talks
Sir Keir Starmer's Acceptance of Substantial Gifts from UK Donors
New Zealand Introduces Law to Make Tech Giants Pay for News
NASA Astronauts Stranded in Space Due to Boeing's Starliner Issues
OpenAI and Microsoft Sued for Copyright Infringement
Starmer Vows to Renegotiate Brexit Deal Amid Far-Right Rise in France
Monster Hurricane Beryl Hits Caribbean as Category Five Storm
EU Charges Meta with Breaching Antitrust Rules
Biden's Debate Performance Unites Democrats and Republicans
Prison Officer Faces Court Over Inmate Sex Video
Jude Bellingham's Iconic Euro 2024 Goal: A Historic Moment for England
Campaigners Push for Emergency Uplift Visa for Palestinians Escaping Gaza Conflict
French Elections: Battle to Thwart Far-Right Takeover
Supreme Court Grants Trump Partial Immunity, Delays Trial
China Criticizes US Restrictions on AI Investments
×