May 23, 2024

Speculation over an early deal in the Brexit dispute over Northern Ireland

There is movement in the Brexit dispute between Great Britain and the European Union. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak may announce a deal soon.

In the struggle between London and Brussels to reach an agreement on Brexit rules for the British province of Northern Ireland, there are growing signs of imminent progress. British news agency PA reported on Friday that MPs from the ruling Conservative Party in Great Britain have been instructed to come to Parliament next Monday. This was interpreted as a sign that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak could announce a deal with the EU. However, it is unclear whether MPs will be given the opportunity to vote on a deal.

Sunak is expected to hold talks with EU Commission President Ursula van der Leyen before making progress on talks. That could happen over the weekend, the PA speculated. Crucial to victory is whether Sunak can get Northern Ireland’s largest Protestant unionist party, the TUP, behind him. They have been blocking the formation of a government in the British part of the country for months, protesting the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol.

Difficulties in internal British trade

The Northern Ireland protocol is part of the Brexit deal. It was negotiated by then Prime Minister Boris Johnson against the wishes of the DUP and enabled an orderly exit from the EU. In the soon-to-be-scheduled parliamentary election, Johnson won an absolute majority.

Otherwise conflict over the unification of the two parts of Ireland was expected to flare up again. But these restrictions created difficulties for British trade, and Protestant supporters of the union felt cut off from Britain.