"Brexit Hard Man" Steve Baker's Backing of Northern Ireland Protocol Deal Sparks Outrage from Boris Johnson Ally Nadine Dorries

“Brexit Hard Man” Steve Baker’s Backing of Northern Ireland Protocol Deal Sparks Outrage from Boris Johnson Ally Nadine Dorries

Nadine Dorries has lashed out at Steve Baker over Rishi Sunak’s deal with the EU on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The “Brexit hard man” revealed his backing for the agreement earlier today in a major coup for the Prime Minister. But Ms Dorries said Mr Baker had no choice but to support Mr Sunak after he was a “key agitator” in the ousting of Boris Johnson.

The former Cabinet minister, a fierce ally of Mr Johnson, said: “Of course Steve Baker gushing about the deal.

“He was a key agitator to remove Boris Johnson. We are 28 points behind in the polls since.

“What shred of credibility he has left would be destroyed if he came out against Sunak. He has nowhere else to go other than to grin and support.”

He said: “I can only say this: that the Prime Minister is on the cusp of securing a really fantastic result for everyone involved.”

A senior Government source this afternoon said Mr Sunak had struck an agreement with the EU over the post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland.

The source said: “An agreement has been reached. The deal is done.”

The Prime Minister and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen finalised the long-awaited agreement during a Windsor summit today.

At a joint press conference, Mr Sunak said his “decisive breakthrough” on post-Brexit rules for Northern Ireland will remove trade barriers in the Irish Sea The Prime Minister said: “I’m pleased to report that we have now made a decisive breakthrough.

“Together we have changed the original protocol and are today announcing the new Windsor framework.

“Today’s agreement delivers smooth-flowing trade within the whole United Kingdom, protects Northern Ireland’s place in our union and safeguards sovereignty for the people of Northern Ireland.”

Mr Sunak hopes the deal will win the approval of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which has issued seven tests. The backing of the DUP is also crucial to securing the support of Conservative Brexiteers in the powerful European Research Group (ERG), who will convene a so-called “star chamber” of lawyers to scrutinise the agreement.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: “We’ll take our time to consider the detail and measure a deal against our seven tests.”

Earlier, Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg warned Mr Sunak of a possible Tory revolt if the DUP does not support the deal. The former cabinet minister told GB News: “It will all depend on the DUP. If the DUP are against it, I think there will be quite a significant number of Conservatives who are unhappy.”

He said that the position of Mr Johnson, who he described as the “biggest figure in UK politics”, will be “fundamental”. The protocol, agreed by Mr Johnson in 2020, was designed to prevent a hard Irish border after Brexit.

Northern Ireland has continued to follow EU rules on goods to prevent checks being needed when crossing into the Republic. But the trade barriers created between Northern Ireland and Great Britain have angered unionists

The DUP collapsed powersharing at Stormont last year in protest at the protocol’s impact, leaving Northern Ireland without an executive or an assembly.

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