Boris Johnson has been accused of using the Northern Ireland Protocol to his own advantage as speculation mounts that he is trying to mount a fresh bid for the top job.
Senior Tories have this week stepped up warnings to Rishi Sunak not to try to strike a Brexit deal with Brussels which is unacceptable to Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris and the European Commission’s Maros Sefcovic will hold talks by video link on Monday afternoon, fuelling speculation that an agreement to resolve the problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol is close.
However the reports have alarmed some committed Tory Brexiteers as well as some senior figures in the DUP who fear the Government is giving too much ground to the EU.
No 10 denied suggestions the Prime Minister had been forced to delay an announcement – which had been widely expected as early as this week – amid concerns of a backlash at Westminster.
The veteran Tory Eurosceptic Sir Bernard Jenkin said that any deal which did not lead to a return to powersharing at the Stormont Assembly by the DUP – which walked out in protest at the protocol – would be “completely disastrous”.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Boris Johnson is strongly opposed to any course of action that would steer the UK away from his dubious protocol agreement.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, former chancellor George Osborne said Johnson will use any instrument if it will bring down Sunak and pave his own route to becoming PM.
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