Labour Will Back Rishi Sunak's Northern Ireland Protocol Deal, David Lammy Says

A deal could be reached as early as next week on post-Brexit trading arrangements.
Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy.
Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy.
Aaron Chown - PA Images via Getty Images

Labour will back Rishi Sunak’s Northern Ireland Protocol deal, David Lammy has said.

The shadow foreign secretary said his party would help the prime minister get a deal through the Commons if needed.

Sunak is in Belfast today meeting local politicians amid speculation a deal on post-Brexit trading arrangements could soon be struck.

Newspaper reports suggested the prime minister could brief his cabinet on the deal and announce it in parliament as soon as Tuesday.

Asked if the prime minister’s deal had his support and the support of the Labour Party, Lammy told Times Radio: “We’ve said for weeks that we hoped the prime minister is able to get a deal.

“We always said that a deal could be delivered through negotiation and that if he needs Labour’s support to get the deal through - whatever mechanism he requires in the House of Commons - we will support it.

“Because we believe a deal is in the national interest of the people of Northern Ireland.

“I visited Northern Ireland a few weeks ago, it’s clear that businesses want certainty.

“So yes, Rishi Sunak has Labour support to get a deal through if that the stage that we’ve now got to.”

In another apparent sign of progress, foreign secretary James Cleverly will travel to Brussels for a meeting with European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic.

However, Irish premier Micheal Martin said he believes there is a “distance to go yet” before a deal between the UK and the EU is over the line.

The UK and the EU have been embroiled in substantive negotiations over the workings of the protocol, agreed to ensure the free movement of goods across the Irish land border after Brexit.

The protocol was deeply unpopular with unionists and the DUP has collapsed the powersharing institutions at Stormont in protest at the arrangements.

However, senior figures within the DUP and the European Research Group of the Tory party have warned that any deal must remove the oversight of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Northern Ireland as well as dealing with trading difficulties.

While it is understood the EU and the UK are close to signing off a deal that would reduce protocol red tape on the movement of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, there is no expectation that Brussels is willing to agree to end the application of EU law in the region.


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