The former British prime minister Boris Johnson has sharply criticized the agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU on the Northern Irish Brexit rules. “I’m going to find it very difficult to vote for something like that,” she said in a speech in London on Thursday.
“We should have done this differently”.
The current British prime minister Rishi Sunak had announced on Monday together with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that after difficult negotiations an agreement had been reached on a revised protocol for Northern Ireland. The agreement is intended to facilitate trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. Sunak spoke of a”new chapter in the British-European relationship”.
But ex-Prime Minister Johnson, a Brexit hardliner, is less convinced. The agreement ” is not about Britain regaining control,” he says. He refers to the slogan ‘Take Back Control’, which was used by the supporters of Brexit. The agreement reached, according to him, is about the EU that “allows us to do what we want in our country, but not according to our laws, but theirs”. So it will be difficult to approve the agreement, says Johnson, without explicitly saying that he will vote against it.
Johnson still has many supporters within the Tory party. With his statement, he may also sow doubt among other Conservative MPs about the agreement. In addition, the Northern Irish unionists of the DUP can still be thwarted. That party is still studying the text.
Sunak wants the text to be approved in parliament, but it is not yet clear when the vote will take place.