Rishi Sunak Warned Tory Brexiteers 'Are Going To Come After Him' As EU Talks Drag On

The prime minister is coming under increasing pressure from his own MPs.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street for PMQs.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street for PMQs.
Stefan Rousseau via PA Wire/PA Images

Rishi Sunak has been warned that Tory Brexiteers are preparing to “come after him” as he struggles to strike a fresh Brexit deal with the European Union.

The prime minister held more talks with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen last night, but an agreement on the movement of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland remains out of reach.

Sunak already faces the prospect of ministerial resignations if he fails to agree a deal that satisfies his Eurosceptic MPs and the DUP.

At prime minister’s questions today, he repeatedly dodged detailed questions about the negotiations from Labour leader Keir Starmer, who accused him of being too weak to stand up to his own backbenchers.

Starmer said: “At some point the irreconcilables on his benches are going to twig, and they’re going to come after him.”

Sunak had hoped to be able to present a deal to Parliament earlier this week, but that plan was ditched as the talks stalled.

Brexiteer Tory MPs and the DUP are demanding that the current border in the Irish Sea be scrapped and that EU laws and European court judgments are not applied in Northern Ireland.

Sunak told MPs: “I am a Conservative, a Brexiter and a unionist, and any agreement that we reach needs to tick all three boxes.

“It needs to ensure sovereignty for Northern Ireland, it needs to safeguard Northern Ireland’s place in our union, and it needs to find practical solutions to the problems faced by people and businesses.

“I will be resolute in fighting for what is best for Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom.”

However, there was confusion over whether MPs will be given a vote on any deal.

Labour have said they will help the PM by voting for it, but Sunak potentially faces a huge rebellion if his MPs believe any agreement falls short of their expectations.

Sunak would only say “parliament will express its view” on a deal, but Number 10 sources later refused to say whether that would be in a Commons vote.

She said: “We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves. Talks are ongoing. We don’t as yet have a deal that has been agreed. We won’t get into hypotheticals.”


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