How Sunak hopes the ‘Windsor Framework’ will end the Brexit divide

There was a triumphant atmosphere at the prime minister’s press conference on Monday afternoon. It promised to end the deadlock over the Northern Ireland Protocol that has crippled British politics since it was turned off. Sunak told reporters gathered in Windsor Guildhall’s Magnificent Portraits room that his new ‘framework’ would mark a ‘definitive breakthrough’.

If political choreography works, Brexit is finally here HoorayIt was “Dear Rishi” (to appropriate von der Leyen’s endearing label), not Boris Johnson or Liz Truss.

But triumphalism rarely plays out well on the topic of Brexit. And this time may be the same. There are still plenty of political controversies to endure before the prime minister erases the protocol into the dustbin of history – the Checkers Plan, Theresa May’s withdrawal deal, the Malthouse Compromise and other ill-fated Brexit deals. Alongside the pledge, Snack hopes it will ease. Of course, as an instrument of various “people’s votes”).

In fact, before any real fanfare can begin, the Prime Minister needs to ensure that the framework itself is not geared towards skipping Brexit. The new deal would be far from the first EU-British ‘breakthrough’ overlooking the scrap pile.

The “Westminster Framework” contained both expected and surprising elements. First, there was the Green Lane and Red Lane system. This is a new trade agreement designed to facilitate customs inspection of goods on a one-stop trip from GB to Northern Ireland. Second, there are plans for the newly announced VAT and Excise Regulations, a development welcomed by members, which has returned to British government control.

But perhaps the interesting part of the deal was the surprise ‘Stormont brakes’. The plan is aimed at Northern Ireland’s Unionist community and allows the Northern Ireland Parliament to ‘pull the brakes’. [on] Changes to the EU Goods Regulations”. It takes just 30 members from two separate parties to use the Good Friday Agreement’s “petition of concern” mechanism to reject a rule change. Three unity parties – the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Traditional Unity Party Voice (TUV) – are expected to work together to pull the lever.

But here’s the problem. Stormont must be seated to exercise this veto. This ‘brake’ was therefore a clear attempt to bring his DUP, the greatest voice of political union activity in the region, back into power-sharing agreements. The party has been boycotting Northern Ireland’s devolved parliament since May last year in lieu of ending the protocol, with pro-Brexit party Bete Noire.

This ingenious aspect of the Windsor Framework can be compared to the 1985 Anglo-Irish Accords. This pact helped build political territory that was later seized by the Good Friday Pact.

In 1985, the Anglo-Irish Agreement gave the Republic of Ireland a consultative role on Northern Ireland policy through the All-Ireland “Conference”. Union parties can opt out of running the conference by agreeing to a power-sharing arrangement and taking over such control themselves.

Thus, the Windsor Framework seeks to undermine the DUP’s veto power over Stormont’s manipulation by creating new incentives for the DUP to rejoin the power-sharing. Now power-sharing not only comes at a price (Prime Minister Sinn Fein and acceptance of the protocol), but it also has a reward: a separate ‘veto’ over EU rules. So ‘Ulster says no’ becomes ‘Ulster says yes’.

Of course, time will tell if the DUP devours the carrot Sunak hangs here. It probably took another decade before the Anglo-Irish pact came to fruition in the 1998 Belfast Accords. However, an effective “Unionist veto” would be a clear concession by the EU, offering both a rewrite of the EU-UK treaty and a commitment that the ECJ would not arbitrate on the issue.

Clever politics doesn’t stop at framework details, though. On Monday, the political framework of the Snak deal was steeped in familiar tropes of British nationalism that typically appealed to Northern Ireland’s trade union community. Once the contract was signed, sealed and handed over thanks to Sunak’s constructive collaboration with von der Leyen, Sunak’s audience quickly changed. The run-of-the-mill Twitter diplomacy between Foreign Secretary James Cleverley and his EU negotiator Maroš Shevchovic has come to an end — Sunak is now appealing directly to potential naysayers.

“We have removed the sense of borders on the Irish Sea,” declared Sunak confidently. This vindicated the DUP’s claim, which was often dashed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson throughout 2019, that the Protocol set borders within the UK.

The Prime Minister added: “Typical British products such as trees, plants and seed potatoes will be available again in Northern Ireland garden centres.” There’s also a lot of hype about “British bangers” (or sausages). Clearly, Sunak’s rhetorical approach sees the Windsor Framework tightly wrapped around the Union Jack, and in a sense, the “red, white, blue” promised inexplicably by Theresa May in 2016. of her Brexit.

A meeting between King Charles and von der Leyen added red, white and blue paint to the frame. Tea-based tete-a-tete caused some serious controversy when it was explained over the weekend, with former minister Jacob Rees-Mogg saying that involving sovereigns in such matters was “constitutional.” It’s not wise,” he warned.

There was some concern that Snak was unnecessarily antagonizing enemies with this move, but the truth is that the presence of a king does little to sway hardliners in a deal. in either directionBut one wonders how the DUP’s grassroots foundation, led by leader Sir Geoffrey Donaldson, will receive it.

Good news for the Prime Minister, the DUP cautiously welcomed the Window Framework on Monday. There was no “no”. Instead, Lord Geoffrey issued a statement saying that “broadly speaking, it is clear that great progress has been secured in many areas”, but that “in some areas of our economy, EU law It cannot hide the fact that it is still applied in the North,” said Ireland”. The response was perhaps the best Sunak could have hoped for.

And Conservative Party fanatics have laid the groundwork in recent days. another Brexit uprising? Now, unlike previous such ‘breakthroughs’, the Framework has not yet accumulated a series of well-publicized denunciations and denials from members of the European Study Group. Advocates scrutinize the details of agreements to ensure there are no vulgar stitch-ups buried in footnotes.

The warm response of self-proclaimed ‘Brexit hardman’ Northern Ireland Minister Steve Baker, who spent the weekend ‘monitoring his resignation’, would have caused the Prime Minister’s celebrations.In his previous ERG, one interviewer said the framework was very good It made him “emotional”.

So is it? Is Brexit really over? The answer is not entirely out yet — it would be wrong for the more excitable Framework winner to suggest that the controversy sparked by her Brexit in the UK is over. But the Prime Minister hopes that his party has just entered the tunnel on European affairs and will emerge from there with a newly established will. Liz Truss and Boris Johnson aren’t the only people Sunak shadows to do. Theresa May, David Cameron, John Major. It would be an impressive and historic achievement for any prime minister if this framework works, curbs DUP grievances and unites the Conservative Party.

Both ERG and DUP are in talks with lawyers, so Sunak at least do not oppose his Brexit deal. But the Prime Minister knows the stakes are higher than ever. The outbreak of Brexit harmony could bury the political pioneer of the Protocol, Boris Johnson, and lead to a broader resurgence of his premiership. How Sunak hopes the ‘Windsor Framework’ will end the Brexit divide

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