Rishi Sunak has signed a breakthrough deal with the European Union over post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland and will now seek to win the backing of unionists and Tory Eurosceptics.
The Prime Minister and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen finalised the long-awaited agreement to ease the trading issues created by the Northern Ireland Protocol during a summit at Windsor on Monday, sources from both sides told the PA news agency.
“An agreement has been reached. The deal is done,” a senior Downing Street source said.
The European Commission president will go on to have tea with the King at Windsor Castle despite criticisms that the meeting would drag Charles into the politically contentious deal.
Reaction to the news has been quick to flood in on social media.
The BBC’s Nicholas Watt said word amongst Tory MPs in the tea room is Sunak has pulled off quite a deal.
One told him: “It is absolutely jaw-dropping what Rishi Sunak has managed to get out of the EU”, with early signs suggesting the DUP is encouraged by the negotiations.
“This is such a good deal it will finish off Boris”, they added. “He will have nowhere to go.”
Arch-Brexiteer Steve Baker, the Northern Ireland Office minister who had been on resignation watch, also gave Sunak his support.
Leaving No 10, he told broadcasters: “I can only say this: that the Prime Minister is on the cusp of securing a really fantastic result for everyone involved.”
Responding to the comments, Nadine Dorries hit out at Baker, saying “what shred of credibility he has left would be destroyed if he came out against Sunak”.
While Have I Got News For You comically poked fun at the number of times a deal on the contentious Brexit negotiations had been “done”.
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