Boris Johnson has said he will vote against Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal.
The former Prime Minister, who had already voiced concerns about the deal brokered with Brussels, confirmed that he will not be backing the deal when MPs vote on the Stormont brake in the Commons later on Wednesday.
In a statement, Johnson said: “The proposed arrangements would mean either that Northern Ireland remained captured by the EU legal order – and was increasingly divergent from the rest of the UK – or they would mean that the whole of the UK was unable properly to diverge and take advantage of Brexit.
“That is not acceptable. I will be voting against the proposed arrangements today.
“Instead, the best course of action is to proceed with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, and make sure that we take back control.”
With Labour backing the Windsor Framework agreement signed last month, the Government should win the Commons division comfortably, despite criticism from some hardline Tory Brexiteers.
The DUP has already said its eight MPs will vote against the regulation to implement the Stormont brake as it continues to seek changes to the overall framework.
The confirmation by Johnson of his opposition to the UK-EU deal comes ahead of his appearance before the Privileges Committee, where he will be grilled by MPs investigating claims he knowingly misled Parliament over the “partygate” affair.
The former prime minister, who agreed the original Northern Ireland Protocol with Brussels as a way to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, had earlier this month indicated that he would find it “very difficult” to support the Windsor agreement.
It remains to be seen how large a rebellion Sunak will face, when the secondary legislation on the Stormont brake comes before MPs.
On Tuesday the European Research Group (ERG) said the brake, which is intended to provide a veto on the imposition of new EU regulations in Northern Ireland, was “practically useless” following an analysis of the framework by its “star chamber” of lawyers.
Eurosceptic members have not yet decided how to vote, with the group set to meet later on Wednesday.
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