Heaton-Harris hails 'best deal' for Northern Ireland as Stormont Brake passes Commons vote

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has hailed the passing of the 'Stormont Brake' in a Commons vote insisting the UK's deal with the EU was the "best" for Northern Ireland.

MPs voted on Wednesday on the statutory instrument which would see the Stormont Assembly having a say on future EU laws in Northern Ireland.

MPs voted 515 to 29, majority 486, in favour of regulations to implement the Stormont brake section of the Windsor Framework. It is the first test of Rishi Sunak's deal with the EU.

Mr Heaton-Harris said: “I welcome Parliament voting today to support the Windsor Framework and approve the Statutory Instrument related to the Stormont Brake.

"This measure lies at the very heart of the Windsor Framework, which offers the best deal for Northern Ireland, safeguarding its place in the Union and addressing the democratic deficit.

“By voting in favour of the Stormont Brake, we have voted to ensure that the people of Northern Ireland, through a restored Executive, will have full democratic input to the laws that apply to them.

"The democratic safeguard provided by the Stormont Brake, as well as the other new arrangements in the Windsor Framework, support stability and prosperity in Northern Ireland, and I am pleased to see progress made today in the House.”

The Government also welcomed the Commons vote backing the Stormont brake in Rishi Sunak's new agreement on post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland.

A Government spokesman said: "We are pleased the House of Commons has endorsed the Windsor Framework and agreed the legislation to enact the Stormont brake - the most significant part of the Windsor Framework.

"The Stormont brake puts power back into the hands of Stormont and Westminster, ending the automatic alignment and ratchet effect of new EU law in Northern Ireland that would exist without it.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's new deal passed in a vote in the House of Commons earlier today Credit: PA

"The Windsor Framework is a turning point for the people of Northern Ireland, fixing the problems with the old protocol to ensure the smooth flow of internal UK trade, safeguard NI's place in the Union and address the democratic deficit."

Meanwhile, TUV leader Jim Allister who has been against the deal issued a statement once the vote concluded.

“The predicted outcome of the vote changes nothing in terms of the unacceptability of the deceptive Windsor Framework," he said.

"So long as the EU’s ill-gotten sovereignty over NI is not recovered by the UK and we are left, colony-like, under foreign laws and a foreign court and under an EU Customs Code which decrees NI as EU territory and GB as a foreign country, then, so long can no one who values the Union contemplate support for the Windsor Whitewash. 

“It always has been and remains a sovereignty issue and only the satisfactory addressing of that will restore us to our place in the UK. 

“The key leverage which unionists have is Stormont and that must not be squandered by crawling back in to implement the very protocol unionist leaders solemnly pledged to unalterably oppose.

"So, for TUV the fight goes on, because to accept Windsor is to accept that NI will never again be a full part of the UK. Such is unconscionable and undoable for unionists of principle and conviction.”

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