London Daily

Focus on the big picture.
Wednesday, Dec 06, 2023

Sunak deal with EU is all about leadership now - Kuenssberg

Sunak deal with EU is all about leadership now - Kuenssberg

A deal between London and Brussels is close - but can Rishi Sunak push it through?

"It's all about leadership now" - it is not, any longer, according to that particular diplomatic source, about the finer details of customs posts; the never-ending tangle of whether it's UK or EU law that's supreme; or whether a sausage that's been made in Bolton needs to be inspected if it is going to be sold in Belfast.

A deal on the Northern Ireland Protocol is so close that the negotiating teams have been consulting the thesaurus to help pick a name, in scenes reminiscent of the '80s political comedy, "Yes Minister".

Sorting out the protocol - those post-Brexit trading arrangements - matters practically if you live in or do business with Northern Ireland.

And it matters symbolically a great deal for Rishi Sunak and the government, eager for this bitter hangover from the Brexit negotiations to fade.

The agreement, whatever it ends up being named, is broadly done, and likely to be unveiled on Monday.

One Whitehall source says there's been a "very disciplined approach to solving the problems"; now an arrangement has been struck that "unambiguously works" after weeks of working through the issues.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

But that painstaking practical negotiation could come to naught if it's not matched with political force.

It's in the constitution of some ranks of the Conservative backbenches and some parts of the Northern Irish Unionist DUP to be suspicious of what emanates from any group in charge in Number 10.

Add in the fact that many on the Eurosceptic wing of the Tory party are, politely put, not natural supporters of Mr Sunak.

Some, like the former leader Iain Duncan Smith and the DUP's Sammy Wilson, have been setting tests for the deal before they know for sure what's in the final version - easier perhaps then to cry foul later on.

It is rarely possible to please all of the people all of the time. But on the issue of Brexit and Northern Ireland, it is near impossible.

A diplomat says, "the government simply needs to push it forward, knowing that part of the DUP will not be pleased" - so the question is whether Mr Sunak's push to get a deal through is stronger than the resistance it will inevitably find along the way.

Number 10's handling of the matter so far could make that harder. Mr Sunak is not the first prime minister to preside over a "will they, won't they?" phase during talks with the EU.

But while a deal's been in the offing, there's been something of a vacuum, giving space for critics to opine.

Notably it's given time for Boris Johnson to pile in too, making clear in the last few days that his support won't come easy. He's still a totem for Brexit, and is becoming a rallying point for Mr Sunak's critics.

As the Whitehall source says, "the key dynamic which is emerging is that Boris is throwing himself to the forefront of the opposition" - that won't make the prime minister's life any easier.

Irony alert - remember that Boris Johnson was the prime minister who signed up to the Northern Ireland Protocol in the first place.

Former PM Boris Johnson has been weighing in on the NI Protocol

And it's worth noting that the deal thought to be on offer concedes far more ground to the UK than was thought possible then.

In fact, one member of Theresa May's team told me they would have "bitten your arm off" for the kind of arrangements that are now in play.

There is a likely acceptance of different customs routes, "green lanes" and "red lanes" for goods heading from Great Britain to Northern Ireland; it's likely too the EU has given ground on state aid.

But like it or not, for Rishi Sunak's Number 10, when his old boss speaks, many Conservatives and Brexiteers listen.

Don't be surprised to see, in the coming days, heated political arguments contrasting the agreements that Mr Sunak has reached, and the Northern Ireland Protocol bill that Boris Johnson's government introduced.

That bill is making its way through Parliament now and would, controversially, give the UK government the power to ignore the treaty that's already signed into law.

And don't underestimate the strength of feeling.

One former cabinet minister told me the expected deal would "let down the die-hard leavers", leaving the party vulnerable to attacks from the right, and would "split the Conservatives".

Unless there is a "miracle surprise", the same source cautioned that they and many of their colleagues won't back the deal.

The options for Mr Sunak then are that the deal passes (if there is a vote) "grudgingly", or if it falls, "it leaves his authority in tatters".

It is even, they suggest, a "conceivable option" that the government ends up falling apart if the prime minister tries to ram it through. All this, of course, is happening in the context of a PM stuck way behind in the polls.

There was also disbelief in some quarters at the suggestion that the EU president would appear alongside the King to help boost the chances of a deal.

Buckingham Palace, as a rule, tries to appear beyond politics, well above the fray.

Yet there was the suggestion that Ursula von der Leyen would meet publicly with the King this weekend at Windsor Castle, and even that the deal itself might be given the title the Windsor Agreement - to "throw a bit of glamour" around the closing stages, a source suggested.

But I'm told the European Commission disapproved. Downing Street says officially that the reason the visit was called off was "operational".

Whatever the whole truth, it's made for a messy 24 hours since our colleagues at Sky News broke the story. And it met with disapproval in the very DUP circles that the prime minister needs to get on board.

The Unionists are deeply committed to, and proud of, the monarchy. Arlene Foster, the former DUP leader, was rarely seen without her glittering brooch in the shape of the crown. But the impression that Downing Street was trying to play the Palace into the process has rankled.

Former DUP leader Arlene Foster wearing her favoured crown brooch

The DUP former deputy leader, Lord Dodds, said, "to plan for politicising the monarchy in this way is very serious and reinforces the questions about No 10's political judgement over the protocol".

That doesn't sound like a political leader in the mood to play nice.

We know that Rishi Sunak has been able to find a way to strike an agreement with the EU to help ease the problems that stemmed from the special arrangements for Northern Ireland.

We know Number 10 has been willing to spend political energy and effort getting this far.

But once the black and white of the deal emerges into the light of day, political guile, presentation and force may be required to drive it through.

So far in Downing Street, Rishi Sunak has tried to avoid fights with his party. This time, on this most fraught of issues, an almighty argument awaits.


Related Articles

London Daily
Former President Restricted from Leaving Ukraine Amid Alleged Plan to Meet Hungary's Viktor Orban
You Are So Beautiful
Ikea Commits £10 Million for 2024 Pay Raises for UK Employees
Postmodern Jukebox European Tour Version
Ant and Dec, our favorite jungle jesters, have thrown a curveball. They're suggesting a 'politician-free' season of 'I'm A Celebrity. Get Me Out Of Here!'
An old French tune (by Georges Brassens) Pomplamoose ft. John Schroeder
Trump’s lawyers say he did not take an oath ‘to support the Constitution’
Sattahip Motor Show 20
Henry Kissinger, the influential American diplomat, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and former Secretary of State, passed away at 100 at his Connecticut home.
SONATE AU CLAIR DE LUNE - Moonlight sonata
Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr. Parnpreeb Commends ICRC's Role in Hostage Release
A kiss to build a dream on
Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the crypto exchange FTX who was convicted of fraud earlier this month, is adjusting to his new life in the detention center where he awaits sentencing.
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the crypto exchange FTX who was convicted of fraud earlier this month, is adjusting to his new life in the detention center where he awaits sentencing.
Mean Blues
The political network founded by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch has endorsed Nikki Haley in the Republican presidential nominating contest
La Chansonnette
Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett's longtime investing partner, dies at 99
Pattaya Addicts
Robert De Niro told an awards ceremony a speech he was reading had been edited without his knowledge, removing critical comments about Donald Trump
Franz Liszt - Liebestraum - Love Dream
Standard Chartered is in the early stages of a search for its next chair as the bank prepares for the departure of Jose Vinals, who’s entering his eighth year in the role
Dream a little dream of me
Eurostar to Suspend Amsterdam to London Service for 6 Months
Unchained Melody sung like you've NEVER heard!
California is not considered a racist place. Or so it seems.
Dave Brubeck - Take Five
Sam Altman's return to OpenAI marks a significant turn of events for Microsoft and its relationship with the AI giant.
Édith Piaf - Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (Sofie)
Radical immigrants set on fire police cars and loot shops in Dublin.
Rondo Alla Turca
The BBC Caught Again with Questionable Journalistic Standards, as Ugly Facts Undermine Its Attractive Yet Flawed Arguments
Kiss of fire
This video reveals that Target's Black Friday promotions are entirely fake, with no actual discounts. The prices before and after are identical!
Tom Jones - I´ll Never Fall In Love Again 1967, 1989, 2001
Israel's Spokesperson Mark Regev's Response to Comparisons Between Palestinian Teenage Terrorists and Young Innocent Victims of Hamas Captivity
Israel Cachao López - Guajira Clásica
Here is a video showing the moment of the release of the captives by the terrorist organization Hamas and their transfer to the Red Cross on their way back to the State of Israel.
Edward Maya - Stereo Love (feat. Vika Jigulina) (Extended Mix)
Here is a video showing the moment of the release of the captives by the terrorist organization Hamas and their transfer to the Red Cross on their way back to the State of Israel.
Strauss - Radetzky March - Karajan
Bill Gates Envisions a Possible 3-Day Work Week with AI
La vie en rose
Viktor Orban's Provocative Assertions and Their Significance in Europe
The Temptations - My Girl (Smokey Robinson Tribute) 2006 Kennedy Cent
Orban's Blunt Challenge to Brussels: Embracing National Sovereignty in Migration Policy
Orlando Cachaito Lopez Redencion
OpenAI Staff Rebellion: 500 Employees Demand Board Resignation in Dramatic Standoff
OpenAI Staff Rebellion: 500 Employees Demand Board Resignation in Dramatic Standoff
RADETZKY MARCH-2008-Wien, New Year Concert
Over 200 Convicted in Italy's 'Ndrangheta Mafia Trial
Only you (And you alone)
In a scandalous revelation at the COVID-19 inquiry, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is under fire for an alleged remark that suggests a chilling indifference to human life during the pandemic
Strangers In The Night
Abu Dhabi-Backed Fund Poised to Assume Control of UK's Telegraph Media Group
Charles Aznavour - La Boheme
Sam Altman and Greg Brockman Join Microsoft Amidst OpenAI Developments
Summer time
Reporters Without Borders Unveils News Platform to Counter Russian Propaganda
Sting and Stevie Wonder - Fragile (from Sting's 60th birthday concert)
Singer Shakira will pay a fine of eight million euros after being accused of evading taxes worth 14.5 million euros during the years 2012-2014.
Aux Champs Elysees
Hungary's Orbán Asserts Ukraine Is Far from EU Membership
Stand By Me - Ben E. King (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Racial Bias in AI Leads to Wrongful Arrest Due to False Recognition
La Mer (Beyond the Sea) – Avalon Jazz Band
Orban Stresses Hungary's Need to Reform the EU Rather Than Exiting It
Biden Advocates for Palestinian Authority to Govern Gaza and West Bank
Nathalie Song by Enzo Petrachi Stjepan Hauser Cello
Brigitte Macron Opens Up About Her Marriage to Younger President Emmanuel Macron
Shape of My Heart - Sting (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Apple and Disney Halt Ads on X Following Elon Musk's Antisemitic Post, US Reacts
Radiohead - Creep
Finland Shuts Four Crossing Points on Russia Border
Quizás,Quizás,Quizás - Andrea Bocelli - Jennifer Lopez
Viktor Orbán Welcomes Cameron's Political Return
Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps - Multi-Couples
The UK’s Supreme Court, in a move that surprised no one who respects international law and human rights, has just delivered a landmark ruling against Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s immigration strategy.
Pentatonix Havana
YouTube has introduced an AI feature named Dream Track that can mimic the voices of celebrities such as Demi Lovato and John Legend, enabling users to compose brief songs by specifying lyrics and mood
Paula Cole - Autumn Leaves
Viktor Orbán Welcomes Cameron's Political Return
Oscar Benton Bensonhurst Blues
The UK’s Supreme Court, in a move that surprised no one who respects international law and human rights, has just delivered a landmark ruling against Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s immigration strategy.
AWS, Google, and Microsoft to Invest $8.5 Billion in Thailand
Nina Simone - ”I Put A Spell On You”. Vezi aici cum cântă Jeremy Ragsd
Top German journalist received €600,000 from Putin ally, leak reveals
NIGHTWISH - The Phantom Of The Opera
A Dramatic Video from Gaza, Provided by IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari, Offers Undeniable Evidence of Hamas Establishing Terror Operation Bases Near Schools, Above Hospitals, and Inside Civilian Areas.
Motorshow 2016 Tanjay Negros Oriental
FBI Agents Confiscate Electronic Devices of New York Mayor
Monica Bellucci - Ti Amo
Moody's Downgrades U.S. Credit Outlook to Negative Amid Fiscal Concerns
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean Milena The Voice France 2018
Significant security measures set in place by Scotland Yard this Remembrance weekend in London
Michael Buble (Help Me Make It Through The Night) feat Loren Allred
Memories Canon In D - Maroon 5 (Boyce Avenue piano acoustic cover)
Matteo Simoni - Marina
Maroon 5 - One More Night
Maroon 5 - Memories
Mark Knopfler - Brothers In Arms (Berlin 2007 Live)
Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris - Romeo And Juliet (Real Live Roadrunni
Marina, Marina - The LUCKY DUCKIES intimist live concert at Guimarães
Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On Mauranne The Voice France 2016
Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet - Joslin - Henri Mancini, Nino Rota
LoLa & Hauser - Love Story
Linkin Park Jay-Z - Numb Encore (Live 8 2005)
Hallelujah Mennel Ibtissem, The Voice France Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen - Dance Me to the End of Love
Leonard Cohen & Natasha Rostova - Dance me to the end of love
La casa de papel - Bella Ciao
La Camisa Negra
L'italiano (Toto Cutugno) - The Gypsy Queens
Juanes - La Camisa Negra
Jonathan and Charlotte - Britain's Got Talent 2012 Live Semi Final - U
John Powell - Assassin's Tango
Joe Cocker - You Can Leave Your Hat On (LIVE in Dortmund)
Joe Cocker - Unchain My Heart 2002 Live
Joe Cocker - A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Jay Z & Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind LIVE
Jason Mraz - Im Yours (live)
Jarrod Radnich - Bohemian Rhapsody - Virtuosic Piano Solo
James Blunt - You're Beautiful
James Blunt - You're Beautiful & Bonfire Heart (Live at The Nobel Peac)
If You Go Away - Helen Merrill & Stan Getz (Tribute to Virna Lisi)
I Say a Little Prayer
Hotel California ( Eagles ) 1994 Live
Historia de un amor - Luz Casal. Vezi interpretarea Biancăi Sumanariu
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover) on Spot
Heart - Stairway to Heaven Led Zeppelin - Kennedy Center Honors
HAVANA by Camila Cabello Zumba Pre Cooldown TML Crew Kramer Pastra
HAUSER and Señorita - I Will Always Love You
HAUSER - Waka Waka
HAUSER - Lambada
HAUSER - Historia de un Amor
HAUSER - Despacito
Great Pretender
Georgia May Foote & Giovanni Pernice Samba to 'Volare' - Strictly Come
Gary Moore - Still Got The Blues
Fugees - Killing Me Softly With His Song
French Latino - Historia de un Amor
For A Few Dollars More The Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Live)
Flashdance • What a Feeling • Irene Cara
Filip Rudan - “Someone You Loved” Audicija 4 The Voice Hrvatska Sez
Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight
Enya - Only Time
Enrique Iglesias - Bailando (English Version) ft. Sean Paul
Enrique Iglesias - Bailamos
Elena Yerevan Historia de un amor
Ed Sheeran - Shape of You (Official Music Video)
Ed Sheeran - Perfect Symphony [with Andrea Bocelli]
Ed Sheeran - Perfect (Official Music Video)
Easy On Me - Adele (Boyce Avenue 90’s style piano acoustic cover) on S
ERA - Ameno
ELENA YEREVAN- Cancion Del Mariachi-IN STUDIO-2017 DPR
Dust In The Wind - Kansas (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Despacito x Shape Of You - Pentatonix
Deep Purple - Child In Time - Live (1970)
David Foster When A Man Loves A WomanIt's A Mans World (SealMichael Bo
Dance me to the end of Love ( Pi-Air Design )
Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise (feat. L.V.) [Official Music Video]
Conquest Of Paradise (Vangelis), played on Böhm Emporio organ
Cielito Lindo
Chico & The Gypsies - Bamboleo
Canción Del Mariachi - Antonio Banderas, Los Lobos • Desperado
Camila Cabello - Havana (Audio) ft. Young Thug
Camila Cabello - Havana ( cover by J.Fla )
California Dreamin' - The Mamas & The Papas José Feliciano (Boyce Ave
Buster Benton - Money Is The Name of The Game
Hallelujah Pentatonix
Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy (Official Music Video)
Bob Dylan - Knockin' On Heaven's Door Emilia The Voice Kids France
Besame Mucho - Cesaria Evora
Ben E. King - Stand by Me Sax Cover Alexandra Ilieva Thomann
Bella Ciao
Beautiful in White x Canon in D (Piano Cover by Riyandi Kusuma)
Bad Romance - Vintage 1920's Gatsby Style Lady Gaga Cover ft. Ariana Savalas & Sarah Reich(1)
BAMBOLEO - Gipsy Kings • Antonio Banderas, Katya Virshilas
BAILANDO (original)
Awesome Ukrainian yodeler - SOFIA SHKIDCHENKO (with English subtitles)
Avicii - The Nights
Atom - The Great Gig in the Sky
Aretha Franklin - (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Official Ly
Antonio Banderas - Cancion del Mariachi (Desperado)
André Rieu - Zorba's Dance (Sirtaki)
André Rieu - Can't Help Falling In Love
André Rieu & Mirusia - Ave Maria
Andrew Reyes Elton John - Don't Let The Sun Go Down The Voice 2020 (
Andreas Kümmert Whiter Shade Of Pale The Voice of Germany 2013 Showd
And I Love You So
All About That Bass - Postmodern Jukebox European Tour Version
Alan Walker - Faded (Piano Cover)
Ain't No Sunshine -- Bill Withers (cover by Canen 12 y.o.)
African music
Adriana Vidović - “Creep” Audicija 4 The Voice Hrvatska Sezona 3
Adriana Vidović - “Believer” Nokaut 3 The Voice Hrvatska Sezona 3
A Fistful of Dollars - The Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Tuva
4 Beautiful Soundtracks Relaxing Piano [10min]
2CELLOS - Whole Lotta Love vs. Beethoven 5th Symphony [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
2CELLOS - Smooth Criminal (Live at Suntory Hall, Tokyo)
2CELLOS - Smells Like Teen Spirit [Live at Sydney Opera House]
13 Year Old Girl Playing Il Silenzio (The Silence) - André Rieu
094.All About That Bass
(Ghost) Riders In the Sky (American Outlaws Live at Nassau Coliseum, 1
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You - Bryan Adams (Boyce Avenue ft. Conn
What a wonderful world
Moon river