Summary of the Windsor Framework legal text analysis

Please find a press release summary of the Windsor Framework as below

Press Release Star Chamber FINAL 210323


Press Release: 21 March 2023

The European Research Group’s Legal Advisory Committee’s Review and Assessment of

the “The Windsor Framework”

Commenting on the release of the legal assessment, ERG Chairman Mark Francois MP, said:

“I would like to thank the Star Chamber, Chaired by Sir Bill Cash MP and ably supported by Martin Howe KC, Barnabas Reynolds and David Jones MP for their diligent and thorough examination of the legal implications of the Windsor Framework.

“The Star Chamber’s principal findings are: That EU law will still be supreme in Northern Ireland; The rights of its people under the 1800 Act of Union are not restored; the ‘green lane’ is not really a ‘green lane’ at all; the Stormont Brake is practically useless and the framework itself, has no exit, other than through a highly complex legal process.”

The full report can be found at:

Principal findings: 

1.EU law remains supreme in Northern Ireland

Removal of EU law?  No EU laws will be “disapplied” or “removed” from Northern Ireland, contrary to claims in the UK Command Paper. Northern Ireland will remain subject to the power and control of EU law, the European Court (ECJ) and the European Commission on EU single market laws which govern the manufacture and sale of goods in Northern Ireland, and EU customs formalities and duties will still apply to goods sent from Great Britain unless one of the limited exemptions applies.

The deal makes only limited legal changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol, on the basis of temporary legal powers under the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement which do not permit any changes to “essential elements”. Claims that this amounts to a new framework or structure are not correct.

Limited easings within existing Protocol structure.  The two different legal systems, (a) UK law in Great Britain, and (b) EU law in Northern Ireland, are the underlying cause of a border in the Irish Sea, with checks and controls required between those two parts of the same country. This underlying cause is not addressed by the Windsor deal.

Instead, there will be limited easings from the Irish Sea border customs and regulatory requirements for businesses in Great Britain selling goods into Northern Ireland. These easings will not benefit businesses in Northern Ireland. They will remain fully subject to all EU laws under the NI Protocol when making goods and when selling goods to Northern Ireland consumers in competition with goods of British origin.

Easings for very specific areas are to be made under EU law directly applicable in Northern Ireland, for medicines, some retail goods (mainly foods), pets and plants. Allowing  these easings to be done within EU law (rather than in a bilateral instrument) has adverse consequences:

  • Their interpretation, enforcement and validity is automatically under the jurisdiction of the ECJ rather than of the Withdrawal Agreement arbitration panel.
  • The UK has no legal remedy if the EU does not pass these easings into law in the form the Commission now proposes, or if the EU decides to amend or repeal them in future.
  • This creates an incredibly dangerous precedent of allowing the EU to make Regulations which apply only within the territory of Northern Ireland, a precedent which could be turned against the UK in future.

VAT and excise.  Ameliorations are made in EU rules on VAT and excise which will allow changes made (or shortly to be made) to VAT and alcohol duties since Brexit in Great Britain to be replicated in Northern Ireland. But there is no overall removal of VAT and excise from EU control, and the deal provides for a new “enhanced co-ordination mechanism” on VAT and excise. Changing tax structures or rates outside the boundary of the specific relaxations will involve negotiation with the EU and their permission.

EU State aid law and its “reach-back” into the UK.  EU State aid law, by virtue of Article 10 of the NI Protocol, is applicable in Northern Ireland and across the whole of the UK if aid might affect trade under the NI Protocol. Article 10 will not be amended, leaving the EU still in complete control of State aid within Northern Ireland. The Windsor deal will use a declaration (less legally secure than amending the treaty text) which seeks to limit (but not eliminate) the reach-back of EU State aid law across the whole UK, putting recipients of aid within Great Britain at risk of Commission proceedings requiring the aid to be repaid for 10 years after it is granted.

  1. The rights of the people of Northern Ireland under the Act of Union 1800 are not restored.

Different treatment under a treaty with a foreign power.  Unlike Great Britain, Northern Ireland will remain subject to the power and control of EU law, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) and EU administrative organs (such as the European Commission). Northern Ireland citizens will have no ability to vote to change or remove the body of EU laws which apply to them under the NI Protocol, unlike citizens in Great Britain who have to power to change or remove retained EU law.

Customs and restrictions on goods between parts of the United Kingdom.  Customs between Great Britain and Northern Ireland will remain unless a specific exemption applies. Larger businesses in Northern Ireland will have to pay EU tariffs on goods inputs from Great Britain if they do not satisfy rules of origin under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Burdensome administrative requirements will apply to goods even within the scope of the specific easings; and outside those easings the full panoply of EU external border rules will apply to goods moved from Great Britain.

3.The ‘green lane’ is not really a ‘green lane’

Limited (and conditional) easings.  Limited easings from the full application of EU external customs duties and customs and regulatory requirements are to be made, involving reduced checks for certain goods sent within the UK across the Irish Sea which are accepted by the EU as destined solely for Northern Ireland and as not placing any risk on the EU’s “single market”.

These easings, which cover customs and certain goods standards, are highly constrained and carefully defined.

  • They cover certain aspects of East-West trade only. E.g. full EU customs checks and duties, if payable, will still apply to business acquisitions of input goods to be processed in Northern Ireland by larger companies.
  • The easings will not readily be available to smaller traders.
  • Registration will be required by UK traders and carriers.
  • Some elements of the new scheme require businesses to become authorised under a newly established mechanic, managed by the UK but overseen by the EU.
  • Some of the elements contain new, detailed application, compliance and monitoring processes, with restrictions on how the UK applies the scheme.
  • Declarations will still be required, as will compliance checks.
  • Precautionary usage of the “red lane” involving full checks is likely, and there is no reimbursement mechanism for duties where goods end up solely in Northern Ireland.
  • The scheme is not on a secure legal base vis-à-vis the EU, since it is vulnerable to suspension by the EU on grounds of suspected fraud, or termination by the EU on “diversion of trade” grounds.

These complex easings do not resemble a “green lane” where no checks are required and anyone is free to walk through. The schemes are burdensome and it is not clear if they will actually be better or worse than the way the NI Protocol currently operates with ‘grace period’ suspensions. These easings are not available to all businesses since smaller traders will find them more difficult to operate or even impossible. Nor do they cover all forms of business such as supplying plants direct to gardeners by mail order.

4. The Stormont Brake is practically useless

The ‘Stormont brake’.  A new ‘Stormont brake’ is to be inserted into the NI Protocol which gives a certain number of members of the NI Assembly the ability to call for the rejection of incoming EU laws. However, this only applies to future changes to EU law and confers no right to change any part of the existing body of EU laws imposed on Northern Ireland under the NI Protocol. The ‘brake’ is of very narrow application in theory and is likely to be useless in practice. It is a highly restricted version of a process contained in the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement, and allows the EU to take “remedial” countermeasures. There has only been one attempt to use the EEA version of the brake, by Norway in 2011, which was abandoned in 2013.  Norway failed. (A flow chart for the Brake ie attached)

5.There is no exit from the framework other than through ahighly complex legal process

Doubling down.  The UK provides new commitments and undertakings which reaffirm and embed the status and structures of the Withdrawal Agreement and its NI Protocol.

  • The Government commits to new, tougher arrangements for market surveillance and enforcement under the NI Protocol. New commitments are made by the UK on “exports” from Northern Ireland to Great


  • The Government commits to stopping the progress of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill which, if enacted, would allow for the restoration of UK sovereignty in Northern Ireland.
  • The EU sets out how EU representatives will engage directly with Northern Ireland “stakeholders”, undermining the status of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom.

The Windsor arrangement risks incentivising the UK and its future governments to copy future EU rules, and adjustments to existing EU rules, so as to avoid the imposition of new checks across the Irish Sea. Businesses in Northern Ireland will be denied the benefits of reformed post-Brexit UK law applied in Great Britain and will be faced in their home market with competition from goods supplied by mainland businesses which comply with UK rules without themselves being able to benefit.


The Government’s claims Analysis
Is this legally binding on both sides?

“It does what many said could not be done.., legally binding changes to the protocol treaty itself.”


The Northern Ireland Protocol remains  intact, supplemented by some additional easings. The UK cannot hold the EU to its commitments which will ultimately be governed by the ECJ.

Has it removed EU laws? 

“over 1,700 pages of EU law – with accompanying European Court of Justice (ECJ) jurisdiction – are disapplied,” (CP 806)


There is no evidence that 1,700 pages of EU law has been disapplied. Not a single EU single market law has been removed from Northern Ireland. At most there has been ‘keyhole’ surgery within the scope of these laws.

The Stormont Brake:

“It gives us control over dynamic alignment, through the Stormont brake, beyond what the [Northern Ireland Protocol] Bill promised.”

“these arrangements provide for the appropriate sovereignty in Northern Ireland for the Stormont Assembly to have that say. It is more than a say; it is an ability for the Assembly to block new EU goods laws as they come down the pipe if Assembly Members are not happy with them.”

“It is for us to make the determination whether the threshold has been met.”


The ‘brake’ is of very narrow application in theory and is likely to be useless in practice.

It covers a limited range of EU laws applicable to Northern Ireland. It does not cover laws on EU trade defence measures, State Aid, VAT, Excise, most of the Customs Code, or the Electricity market.

The UK cannot determine if the thresholds have been met. If the tests are not met then adjudicators could find against the UK and reapply the law.


“it provides dual regulation for medicines. The UK’s regulator will approve all drugs for the whole UK market, including Northern Ireland, with no role for the European Medicines Agency. That fully protects the supply of medicines from Great Britain into Northern Ireland”


The UK MHRA will remain subject to EU law when authorising new medicines in Northern Ireland which fall outside these special categories.

The concession could be removed by EU legislation or withdrawn under the legislation if the UK is judged to have contravened its terms.

UK alignment with EU rules? 

“we have also committed to a range of other things to ensure that we protect against trade and regulatory divergence, including dialogue with businesses in Northern Ireland and also with the European Union.”


In practice, the Windsor deal will incentivise the

UK and its future governments to copy future EU rules (and adjustments to existing rules) so as to avoid the imposition of new checks across the Irish Sea.


“there are opportunities to do things differently across the UK to drive growth and prosperity,”

What that refers to very specifically is the work of the Office for the Internal Market, which we have strengthened as a result of the agreement and provided some extra detail about what we do in the Command Paper.

The UK will have to engage in an on-running system of negotiations via the Joint Committee or see the Irish Sea border harden and fall foul of its own legislation to ensure there is no further hardening of the Irish Sea Border.

“A pet owner travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland just needs to make sure that their pet is microchipped and then they will simply need to tick a box when booking their travel.”


The EU has allowed GB pets to travel to Northern Ireland if they are microchipped and have an accompanying travel document and declaration stating the pet will not go to the Republic of Ireland.

Green Lane

“Within the green lane, burdensome customs bureaucracy will be scrapped and replaced with data sharing of ordinary, existing commercial information. Routine checks and tests will also be scrapped. The only checks will be those required to stop smugglers and criminals. Our new green lane will be open to a broad, comprehensive range of businesses across the UK.”


Full customs formalities will remain for many businesses importing goods from Great Britain and complex Tariff Rate Quotas and Rules of Origin will complicate Northern Ireland Firms’ supply chains.

The ‘green lane’ is only available for a limited range of goods considered not ‘at risk’ and involves burdensome pre-registration and administration.

Northern Ireland’s place in the UK

“I can say with conviction that it does address the issues that were raised, and that it does secure Northern Ireland’s place in the Union and safeguard sovereignty.”


The Articles of of Union of 1800 have not been restored. There are serious questions regarding UK sovereignty in Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Is the Protocol Permanent?

“it is a significant development that the Vienna convention on the law of treaties is in the political declaration”


The NI Protocol contains no viable exit or review clause. The “democratic consent” mechanism is not cross-community as it should be under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. Even if invoked, the NI Protocol remains in place and governs any replacement arrangement.


“That is why today’s agreement will lift the ban on shrubs, plants and trees going to Northern Ireland”

The agreement only applies only to

“professional operators”, is subject to “the rules for their entry into the Union laid down in Regulations (EU) 2016/2031 and (EU) 2017/625″, and only applies to a handful of trees and shrub species that need to be accompanied by plant health certificates.



  1. glen cullen
    March 21, 2023

    “There May Be Trouble Ahead” sung by Nat King Cole

    1. Peter
      March 21, 2023

      Glen Cullen,

      Maybe not?

      Minimal newspaper coverage. BBC ‘Today’ programme lead story was various ‘isms’ afflicting the Metropolitan Police.

      So called ‘Brexit fatigue’ may help Sunak push it through without too much damaging protest.

      Sunak and Hunt are not worried about what happens when their term expires. They have other irons in the fire.

      1. Peter
        March 21, 2023

        ‘The Spectator’ was recently edited by Sunak’s old school pal. Sunak was best man at his wedding.

        Unsurprisingly The Spectator take the view that any protests are too little, too late. The wind has been taken out of opponents’ sails.

      2. glen cullen
        March 21, 2023

        OK I’m predicting that the government will win the vote with ERG support with that famous saying ‘’’we have an assurance’’’

    2. Sir Joe Soap
      March 21, 2023

      Clearly several serious risks:
      First, that the EU can use this agreement to plot rules specifically against the interests of NI Unionists and to prefer those of RoI/Sinn Fein. Under a Sinn Fein majority, the RoI/EU could provoke trouble and totally tip the balance of power against e.g. a future Unionist majority in NI. Using an extreme example to illustrate the point, EU/Sinn Fein-run RoI working in tandem to ban orange pigment from NI specifically could be enacted and neither the UK nor Unionist NI could do a thing about it.
      Second, any success in trade agreements made by the UK won’t be enacted in NI. A brilliant NI based trade negotiator working for the British government will succeed only in widening the gulf between his native compatriots’ competitiveness and GB equivalent companies. Meanwhile NI companies could be run into the ground because the EU has no interest whatsoever in improving trade performance for them when their corporation tax is being paid to HM Treasury. A crazy state of affairs.
      Third, there seems no quid pro quo from the EU/RoI. Shouldn’t we be insisting that a Joint Committee looks at any EU rule changes which apply to RoI in order to ascertain whether they meet with our expectations of protecting our Single Market??? Where is our backbone??? It wasn’t the UK which ignored Cameron’s reasonable overtures and which led to this impasse-it was Merkel!!
      This is a hotch potch to cure a simple issue. If EU wishes to protect their market, put up a border post or stop cross border trade in Ireland at all.

    3. Nottingham Lad Himself
      March 21, 2023

      Yes, you voted for troubles without end.

      Well done.

      1. Dave Andrews
        March 21, 2023

        A good observation on the last general election.

    4. hefner
      March 22, 2023

      515 to 29: The Pythia in Delphi was right.

  2. MPC
    March 21, 2023

    What a surprise. I wonder who wrote the legal text. Perhaps we all need to try and stay sane by learning to love this deep and special partnership that wasn’t voted for in the EU Referendum.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      March 21, 2023

      The point is that it is clearly storing up enormous trouble for the future. If the DUP don’t vote for it and resume then the Belfast Agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on and we go back 40 years. Clearly somebody should have asked them before all this fanfare a couple of weeks ago.

      1. Peter van LEEUWEN
        March 22, 2023

        @Sir Joe Soap:
        The DUP didn’t vote for the Good Friday agreement in 1998.
        It took a lost referendum and years of strubbling before they gave in.
        It proved that the GFA was well worth the paper it had been written on.

    2. Bloke
      March 21, 2023

      The Windsor Framework appears full of contaminants, yet is presented as if it’s as safe as Windsor Soup.
      Forensic analysis reveals its horrid contents, not safe for us to swallow.

  3. Dave Andrews
    March 21, 2023

    Perhaps the ERG should ask the PM to submit them the 1,700 pages of disapplied EU law.

    1. glen cullen
      March 21, 2023


  4. Pauline Baxter
    March 21, 2023

    ‘E.U. Law remains supreme in Northern Ireland’. That says it all really doesn’t it.
    Well there is a bit more to add.
    Not wanting to increase the disparity between N.I. and the rest of U.K. future governments, or civil servants, will impose more and more of E.U. rules and regulations on the whole of Britain.

    1. Pauline Baxter
      March 21, 2023

      So, in fact, we are being taken back in to the E.U.
      Meanwhile, the present Government is pretending to ‘deal with’ the illegal immigration invasion.
      Pretending is the operative word there.
      Paying France more money in the hope they will enforce their own laws is pointless because the E.U. and lawyers will still use the E.C.H.R. to frustrate the Home Secretary’s plans.
      That is, until the U.N. ‘Agreement’ comes into force.
      There are faint glimmers of hope in todays diary that may be something is being done re our energy shortage. VERY faint glimmers of hope!
      Which will be scuppered by the E.U. as they again rule us.

      1. Bill Smith
        March 22, 2023


        Nobody is trying to rule us except a Conservative Party wo have made a mess of it

      2. Ian B
        March 22, 2023

        @Pauline Baxter we were never allowed to leave, Boris Johnson and Parliament ensured that. This is to ensure the UK is a EU colony and that having a PM and Parliament isn’t a reality their function is just that of a local council at best.

    2. Donna
      March 22, 2023

      That’s the plan. Northern Ireland will be the umbilical coil which will keep us aligned and permanently attached to the EU until the two-tier structure is created and we are taken into the outer tier …… not officially a member of the EU, an Associate Nation.

      The Treacherous Tories never had any intention of actually LEAVING.

  5. Denis Cooper
    March 21, 2023

    Not five minutes into the meeting of the European Scrutiny Committee:

    and I’m already shocked by the sheer audacity of Chris Heaton-Harris.

  6. Derek
    March 21, 2023

    I despair that our Prime Minister would even think this distaster a “Good deal for us”.
    Why can he not put to the real test? Let us have a National Referendum on the subject!
    Let the people have their say. It’s called democracy.

    1. glen cullen
      March 21, 2023

      This is no longer a fight for the sovereignty of NI or hich deal is better, its now a fight for the soul & integrity of the Tory party ….is the Tories path towards the EU or the UK

    2. Ian B
      March 22, 2023

      @Derek its a good deal for him personally it would appear he is off elsewhere when he looses the general election. Destroyed the point of Parliament, the UK, its economy, ensured the whole of the UK can never leave EU Control.

  7. British Patriot
    March 21, 2023

    Frightening. The more you look at it, the worse it is! This is an absolute betrayal of our national sovereignty and freedom.

    Why do no Tory MPs have the courage to say, outright, that Sunak LIED about the agreement (outside the House, as you cannot use this word in the chamber)? Sunak must be brought down. He has handed power over part of our country (and in some cases ALL the country) to a foreign power. This is surely the very definition of a traitor!

    It is obvious that Sir John intends – rightly! – to vote against this, but it is also necessary for all decent Tory MPs to now demand, by means of the no-confidence procedure, for a change of party leader.

  8. acorn
    March 21, 2023

    It will be interesting to see which MPs vote against or abstain from Rishi’s “Stormont Brake” trap; or just bottle it. Designed to put the spotlight on the ERG and put it “behind the eight ball”; while effectively giving the whole of the Windsor Framework a yes vote.

  9. jon livesey
    March 21, 2023

    Thanks very much and everyone should read that. I think Parliament will vote for the WF, but the analysis makes it clear that the summary we have received so far in the UK is pretty dishonest and in fact carefully written to mislead people who want to be misled. There are some practical day-to-day improvements, but they are matters of application, not matters of principle. They will be hailed as big improvements, but they are really just temporary concessions that change nothing in the long run. And it is quite clear that these temporary concessions were aimed at a particular audience – companies that supply goods to NI, who wanted to see a reduction in red tape and who don’t care a jot about legal jurisdiction or the wishes of the people of NI.
    Without meaning to misuse history, I think that this is the PM’s appeasement moment, when he came up with a too-clever formulation that changes nothing in the long run. EU bad faith and predatory policy in NI is still in place and their big win is that they will now have the UK signature even more firmly stamped on this. Boris understood that the original NIP was unworkable and must end sooner or later, one way or another. The PM has breathed new life into it by making its daily application less toxic. From watching the NIP gradually fail, we have become complicit in it.

    1. Peter
      March 21, 2023


      Yes it was just a clever PR operation from the start.

      That said, misgivings and opposition should have been voiced much sooner and louder, rather than waiting until the very last minute to declare against.

      The newspapers and BBC are still downplaying the importance of the issue.

      Reply I said from the start we should stick with the Protocol Bill

  10. Ian B
    March 21, 2023

    Sir John

    What ever you may wish this Conservative Government has no interest in what the Conservative Party may think about them, they are simply not Conservative.

    These whole headline grabbing sound-bites are simply to remind everyone but themselves the UK has not left the EU. The EU remains this Conservative Governments masters. UK Democracy, UK Laws, Rules and Regulations are not for them or for the UK People.

    Unfortunately along with this remain Parliament they will do anything no matter how abhorrent to enforce the UK back under the control of their unelected unaccountable masters. Its about destruction until they can move on to the next lined up project

  11. The Prangwizard
    March 21, 2023

    You said Sir John in the past that if the government at the time joined the Euro you would resign from the Tory party.

    Does that apply over this? Or is betrayal of the UK’s sovereignty and the abandonment of Northern Ireland something you will accept, in other words your Tory prty is more important than country and its rule by another.

  12. Cuibono
    March 21, 2023

    Apparently this will enable the EU to sneak ground-up mealworms into our food.
    Good Grief! And people worried about chlorinated chicken!
    I do not want to have to decipher every single food packet…peering at that purposely minute print…and trying to work out how they have disguised the name… Tenebrio molitor ( I looked it up) and variations thereof.

  13. Wokinghamite
    March 21, 2023

    Would the UK be better off with the Windsor Framework than before? Isn’t this a question largely for the people of Northern Ireland? If the answer is yes, then there must be a case for agreeing to it, since it may not be possible to negotiate a better deal.

    1. glen cullen
      March 21, 2023

      Why have any deal ?
      Let the UK plough its own way and the EU its own way

    2. mancunius
      March 22, 2023

      Martin Howe has made it clear in his conclusions that It affects the whole of the UK’s trade and industry policy, its fiscal structure and its political freedom to strike treaties.
      NI is just the pretext, the tail that is being used to wag the dog.

  14. Keith Collyer
    March 21, 2023

    With all the advantages the Windsor Framework gives to NI, the only real question is why are some people against applying it to the rest of the UK?

    1. glen cullen
      March 21, 2023

      Don’t give them ideas

  15. Barbara
    March 21, 2023

    Well, the Great Dictator says it is going through despite what parliament or anybody else might think, so what are we to do?

    1. glen cullen
      March 21, 2023

      Next they’ll be saying the same about the next election

  16. ChrisS
    March 21, 2023

    It is Sunak who should be on trial for misleading parliament, given the statement he made over the so-called Windsor Framework.

  17. XY
    March 21, 2023

    Well… I warned you to do unto Sunak as he did to Johnson and Truss.

    Now it’s too late. He was always going to lose the next election, whether he’s there or not, now it seems he doesn’t care. He will lose the vote of every Brexiteer for sure.

    If you can get 100 MPs to eject him, you can exit this before it gets through to royal assent. Your country needs you.

    1. glen cullen
      March 21, 2023

      I despair with everyone who votes for or abstains the vote tomorrow …have they no honour

  18. Mickey Taking
    March 21, 2023

    Do you vote tomorrow, Sir John?
    We watch and will study voting by your fellow Tories. We already know that bunch of halfwits across the floor will all grin and cheer as they line up like sheep going through a small gate.

    1. glen cullen
      March 21, 2023

      Sunak should resign if he doesn’t get 100% support from all his MPs and have to rely upon the opposition votes to win the day

  19. Lynn Atkinson
    March 21, 2023

    The only thing worse than this ludicrous ’agreement’ is the information that the U.K. is sending depleted uranium to Ukraine.
    Lavrov has said ‘this will end badly for the U.K.’.
    Seems all our problems can be over in a flash!

  20. agricola
    March 21, 2023

    If emminent UK legal opinion can so convincingly point out the abject weaknesses of the Windsor Framework it points to two possibilities. First, that the government must have had legal advice before agreement. Was it biased legal opinion or just incompetent. Alternatively are government lying to us and their party in the Commons. Whichever conclusion you accept, I conclude that there are less visible forces at play intent on keeping part of the UK attached to the EU despite our vote to leave.

  21. J.A. Burdon-Cooper
    March 21, 2023

    If Boris Johnson is to be tried for misleading parliament on what many people would consider a minor matter, far more so should Rishi Sunak, who, as an intelligent man, MUST know that his glowing description of what he has “negotiated” bears no relationaship to what the EU says it is, or what it actually is.
    And this is not just misleading Parliament, but the whole British People.
    This is not just accidental or reckless, this is deliberate deception.

  22. halfway
    March 21, 2023

    A lot of people put a lot of effort into making this agreemen so at the very least we should give it a chance to see how it works. I mean what can happen – the sky is not going to fall down

    1. Donna
      March 22, 2023

      How about we give the EU control over Wales? Or hive off Lincolnshire, and let the EU have that territory as well?

      This isn’t about “selling widgets.” It’s about Sovereignty: who rules. And Sunak is handing Northern Ireland to the EU when the CON Party Manifesto promised that the whole of the UK would leave the EU.

  23. Geoffrey Berg
    March 21, 2023

    One may argue in one of two ways:
    EITHER – The Windsor Agreement is an unequal treaty that does not significantly reduce the entrenched legal rights of the E.U. to legislate for and restrict trade with Northern Ireland (reducing British sovereignty over a part of Britain)
    OR – The agreement is based upon expected reasonable behaviour from both sides, as applies to most legal agreements even if they are technically unequal such as mortgage agreements. Yet most people think it worthwhile to sign a legally unequal mortgage agreement so as to buy their home. In this case getting uniquely free trade with both the U.K. and the might make this amended Protocol worth agreeing to.
    That choice ought to be put to a Referendum in Northern Ireland.
    I note that Starmer and Labour committed themselves to agreeing to these arrangements before they were agreed, let alone before they had even read them. So Labour would evidently be just as useless at negotiating for our country as Theresa May was and with their Socialist ideology even worse for the country. Bring back Boris Johnson as Prime Minister in part because he was the only Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher who was capable of dealing effectively with other countries on Britain’s behalf.

    1. Ian B
      March 22, 2023

      @Geoffrey Berg It also identifies that NI is not part of the UK. It also identifies the people of NI can have no say in the laws, rules and regulations that relate to life in their own communities.

  24. Donna
    March 22, 2023

    Parliament is currently trying one ex Prime Minister, who is charged with lying to the House. They should move on to Sunak when they’ve finished with Johnson because he blatantly lied to the House (and the people) about what this “deal” will achieve.

    He is removing Northern Ireland from the Union and that is treason.

  25. Brian Tomkinson
    March 22, 2023

    I hope you and many other MPs will vote against this sell out. Abstention is not an option. if you oppose this betrayal you must vote against and put country before party.

  26. Bill Smith
    March 22, 2023

    Sir JR

    You are obviously going to vot against the deal which has a majority behind it and once again split the Conservative party, just before a e election BRAVO, but that does not seem to bother you too much

  27. Chris S
    March 22, 2023

    How could Sunak possibly think that this smoke-and-mirrors “framework” was ever going to fool anyone ?

    It’s a repeat of the “wonderful deal” Cameron did with Merkel which lost him the referendum.
    While British ministers are prepared to tow the EU line and are not prepared to tell Brussels what is, and is not acceptable, we will not make progress as an independent country.

    I said here weeks ago that the test of whether Sunak’s deal is enough would be whether the Unionist side in Belfast accept it and return to power sharing. Obviously they will not, and that leaves the GFA in tatters.

    Clearly the British side did not push this point hard enough with Brussels, or they did and were ignored. Again, shades of the Cameron/Merkel “negotiations where Merkel could not be made to understand what was necessary to avoid losing the referendum.

    This whole matter will need to be renegotiated or the GFA is dead but we all know that Brussels doesn’t do negotiations, it simply dictates. At least we should be spared a fawning visit by Sleepy Joe !

  28. Ian B
    March 22, 2023

    It would appear today is the day we get to find out who the MP’s sitting in our Parliament see that place as a Democratic Institution that makes, amends, and repeals laws, rules and regulations inside the UK or not.

    Today is the day we get to identify those MP’s that support the UK or hand the UK over to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. A Sovereign State or someone else’s colony.

    Today we get exposed those MP’s that see a foreign court were the people of the UK have no say in its laws, rules and regulations becomes its superior dictator.

    Today we get the answer as to what is the point of the UK and what is the point of MP’s

  29. XY
    March 22, 2023

    An obvious stitch-up.

    The question is, does Sunak think it will win him an election (unlikely) or does he not care and is doing something to further his future in other ways (at Britain’s expense)?

    Starmer seems to be playing along nicely too, neutering the ERG by supporting the pro-EU proposals.

    It would be far better to remove the exit clauses so that the UK can simply withdraw if it wishes to do so (if the arrangements are seen not to be working) via the usual treaty exit mechanisms, which are essentially to give notice of withdrawal, then do so.

  30. Ian B
    March 22, 2023

    Quotes by Conservatives in the MsM

    “On this occasion quite a lot of Conservatives who want Brexit will not be able to follow the Conservative whip.”

    “I will not be buying shares on the Government’s smoke and mirrors on Windsor.” 

    “Northern Ireland is not able to reject EU laws that are already in place and where current laws are acting against the interests of Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom, the Northern Ireland Assembly continues to be powerless to act.”

    “The proposed arrangements would mean either that Northern Ireland remained captured by the EU legal order – and was increasingly divergent from the rest of the UK – or they would mean that the whole of the UK was unable properly to diverge and take advantage of Brexit.“

    Time for the ‘Conservative Party’ to vote a new leader, something they were denied this time around. Yes it causes uncertainty and upheaval, but anything rather than this situation will be infinitely better than this Socialist cabal.

  31. hefner
    March 22, 2023

    A poll released on 22/03/2023 appears to show that within NI voters 17% oppose the Windsor Framework, 45% support it and 38% neither agree or disagree with it.
    I am not sure how such results would translate into a properly held referendum, but they might give an indication of how people were seeing the WF in the period 3-14/03/2023.

    Poll conducted for the Irish Times and for the U.Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies.

    1. Mickey Taking
      March 22, 2023

      I very much doubt how the poll was arranged to be unbiased. Also I doubt how much of the key detail was read, examined, enquired upon and understood prior to an opinion being sought.
      A tendency to just wave it through because people are past caring may have influenced how they voted.

      1. hefner
        March 22, 2023

        I very much doubt how you know that the poll was biased. You can look for it and see for yourself how the yes/no/don’t know vary with the various political affiliations, DUP, SDLP, Alliance, SF, …

        People past caring, possibly, but who would not be almost seven years after the referendum, four governments, Covid, and a cost-of-living crisis. It might be ´funny’ for politicians and retirees but most people are more likely to have a day-to-day to live.

        1. Mickey Taking
          March 23, 2023

          Given it is about trading between GB and NI under whose regulations?, people should damn well care!
          Trade between NI and EU needs to obey EU import rules, and EU export to obey NI rules or suffer no trade.

  32. Elli Ron
    March 22, 2023

    Just withdraw from the whole protocol, it has no redeeming features, the EU has the option of creating a customs border between N.I and the republic to “protect” itself – so be it, their problem.

  33. Ian B
    March 22, 2023

    Surely if these Guy’s that we have empowered and pay to govern the UK, to make, amend and repeal our laws, rules and regulations no longer want to do that job, thats fine, no one is stopping them moving on, let them walk. However, handing these privileges and powers to foreign unelected unaccountable bureaucrats that no one in the UK has any right to challenge must be seen as a criminal act or worse.
    I know they(this government) have shown time and time again they don’t care that the UK citizen thinks, because they have somewhere else to be. But trashing our Political system for the sake of vanity, it will not be them that are punished, they will be long gone, it will be the Conservative Party and Parliament as a whole. All those that we need to pick up the pieces of a broken democracy.

  34. Ian B
    March 22, 2023

    Parliament needs to get a grip. Its not about ‘Brexiteers’ or ‘Remainers’ it is whether they believe themselves to be part of the UK democratic political purpose, or are they just the puppets of a foreign unelected unaccountable bureaucracy. They just cant have it both ways, these bureaucrats keep proving that time and time again.

  35. Lynn Atkinson
    March 22, 2023

    Thank you Sir John, for your steadfast defence of these islands and the integrity of your nation.
    Mr Baker has left no doubt about his ability or lack thereof. Happily he was not in the May Government. He has demonstrated the reasoning behind promoting your opposition rather than trying to beat it.

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