“The Prime Minister’s agreement ‘helps’, but it isn’t taking back control,” said Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, as he criticised Rishi Sunak’s assertion that the Brexit deal means Britain has “now taken back control.”
While Lord Frost acknowledged that the deal has its merits, he argued that it does not go far enough in addressing the fundamental issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol.
He added that the deal is a “bitter pill to swallow,” and it still leaves the UK only partly sovereign over all its territory.
The recently finalised Windsor Framework, which removes trade barriers across the Irish Sea and grants a “veto” to politicians in Stormont on EU law, has yet to win the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory Eurosceptics.
ERG chairman Mark Francois said that its “star chamber” of lawyers would scrutinise the agreement in about two weeks.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Conservative MPs to give the DUP “time and space” to consider his Brexit deal.
Northern Ireland Office minister Steve Baker, another arch-Brexiteer, expressed optimism that the DUP would ultimately back the deal, stating that it is a good deal for the union in all circumstances.
On Monday, Sunak told MPs in the Commons that the new agreement “puts beyond all doubt that we’ve now taken back control,” echoing Johnson’s slogan.
However, the role of the European Court of Justice in the deal could be a potential sticking point for hardline Brexiteers.