Eurosceptic MPs are poised to reject Rishi Sunak‘s Brexit deal next week, Tory sources said last night.
The Prime Minister is hoping to avoid a major Tory rebellion on Wednesday when he puts his ‘Windsor Framework’ deal to a vote.
But a former minister told the Daily Mail that a key report for the powerful Eurosceptic Research Group of Tory MPs (ERG) will conclude the agreement is not good enough.
The group commissioned a ‘star chamber’ of legal experts to study the deal – which addresses the movement of goods between the UK and Northern Ireland – before passing judgment. The report is expected on Monday.
A source with knowledge of its progress said: ‘The star chamber is not going to give the deal the green light. From what I’ve seen, its findings are going to be pretty bad for the Government.
The Prime Minister is hoping to avoid a major Tory rebellion on Wednesday when he puts his ‘Windsor Framework’ deal to a vote
The problem is that in the end the deal is not legally binding on the EU. Whatever you think of their concessions, they could withdraw them at any moment.
‘The vote is not in danger because Labour will back it, but I think you are going to see quite a few colleagues struggle to vote for it.’
Several senior Eurosceptics have publicly backed the PM’s deal, including former Brexit Secretary David Davis, former trade secretary Liam Fox and former ERG chairman Steve Baker.
Boris Johnson warned the deal would act as a ‘drag anchor’ on the UK’s ability to forge its own path after Brexit, adding: ‘I’m going to find it very difficult to vote for something like this myself.’
But the former PM will be unable to voice his concerns during next week’s debate as it has been timed to coincide with his appearance in front of the controversial Partygate inquiry.
ERG chairman Mark Francois said: ‘We are still awaiting the outcome of the star chamber’s detailed legal audit of the Windsor Framework.’ A No 10 spokesman said: ‘We think this is the best deal for the people of Northern Ireland.’