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Rishi Sunak‘s Brexit deal for Northern Ireland is being formally signed off today – despite the DUP warning it will not rejoin powersharing.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and the EU’s Maros Sefcovic will meet to seal the new arrangements after the Government won a crunch vote on Wednesday.
Both sides are hoping that the package can herald a thaw in relations after nearly seven years of wrangling over the UK’s exit from the bloc.
The vote to implement the so-called ‘Stormont Brake’ this week has bolstered Mr Sunak’s control of the Tories.
Just 22 MPs rebelled to join the DUP in opposing the key measure, despite encouragement from big beasts including Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Priti Patel.
However, the unionists have insisted they are not yet ready to back the ‘Windsor Framework’ or return to Stormont.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and the EU’s Maros Sefcovic (pictured together last month) will meet to seal the new arrangements after the Government won a crunch vote on Wednesday
Tensions have been running high over the Northern Ireland protocol, with the DUP saying the new deal is an improvement but does not fix all issues
Under the Good Friday agreement the executive cannot function unless both communities participate.
Downing Street was jubilant about limiting the revolt against the Brexit deal, with source saying it had been a ‘good week’ and Mr Sunak had made it ‘his party’.
The PM has boasted that it removes all trace of a border in the Irish Sea, brings Northern Ireland back under UK VAT and tax rules, and includes a theoretical veto on new EU laws being enforced in the province.
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has warned the DUP that there is no prospect of renegotiating the deal.
Brussels has already approved the key parts of the Framework at an EU Council meeting.
The formal sign-off will come at a Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee meeting.
The Foreign Secretary and Mr Sefcovic also set to attend a meeting of the partnership council – another of the implementation bodies under the Brexit deal.
DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has insisted the party is not yet ready to back the ‘Windsor Framework’ or return to Stormont