Stormont Brake gets backing of MPs despite DUP opposition

Stormont Brake gets backing of MPs despite DUP opposition

THE STORMONT BRAKE has received the backing of the majority of MPs in a Commons vote, despite being rejected by the DUP and some high-profile Conservatives.

The vote on a key part of the Windsor Framework — Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's new Brexit deal agreed last month with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen — passed by 515 votes to 29.

As well as being opposed by the DUP, former Prime Ministers Boris Johnston and Liz Truss were among 22 Tories to vote against the regulations.

Welcoming the result, Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris said the regulations would secure Northern Ireland's place in the United Kingdom.

'Best deal for Northern Ireland'

"I welcome Parliament voting today to support the Windsor Framework and approve the Statutory Instrument related to the Stormont Brake," he said.

"This measure lies at the very heart of the Windsor Framework which offers the best deal for Northern Ireland, safeguarding its place in the Union and addressing the democratic deficit.

"By voting in favour of the Stormont Brake, we have voted to ensure that the people of Northern Ireland, through a restored Executive, will have full democratic input to the laws that apply to them.

Jeffrey Donaldson voiced his opposition to the regulations (Image: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images))

"The democratic safeguard provided by the Stormont Brake, as well as the other new arrangements in the Windsor Framework, support stability and prosperity in Northern Ireland, and I am pleased to see progress made today in the House."

However, speaking at Westminster today, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said the regulations do not fully protect Northern Ireland's place within the internal market of the United Kingdom.

The Lagan Valley MP said there remained the possibility for divergence between EU laws applied in Northern Ireland and UK laws applied in Great Britain.

Trade will be harmed

"There is a Bill before this House that will fast-track and significantly broaden the number of UK laws that are going to be changed and where EU law is disapplied, and that creates the potential for divergence between Northern Ireland and Great Britain," said Donaldson.

"It harms our ability to trade with Great Britain, it harms the integrity of the internal market of the United Kingdom, and the Windsor Framework does not address that problem and we need it addressed."

The Stormont Brake seeks to address concerns that Northern Ireland has no say in the policy-making process of EU laws that apply there in relation to goods and customs.

It can be triggered by 30 MLAs from at least two political parties if they object to updated or amended EU rules.

The British Government will then consider the petition to trigger the brake and if it agrees all conditions have been met, the EU will be notified and the law suspended pending further discussion between the EU and UK Joint Committee.