Sam Blewett, PA Deputy Political Editor
Former British prime minister Boris Johnson has criticised the new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland, arguing it is “not about the UK taking back control” and suggesting he will not vote for the plan.
Mr Johnson said he would find it “very difficult” to support the Windsor agreement in vote in the UK’s House of Commons despite claiming some credit for the new pact.
In a combative speech in Westminster, Mr Johnson said he hopes DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson restores powersharing to Northern Ireland.
But he raised numerous concerns about the new deal with the European Union, saying: “I’m conscious I’m not going to be thanked for saying this, but I think it is my job to do so, we must be clear about what is really going on here.
“This is not about the UK taking back control and although there are easements this is really a version of the solution that was being offered last year to Liz Truss when she was foreign secretary.
“This is the EU graciously unbending to allow us to do what we want to do in our own country, not by our laws, but by theirs.”
Mr Johnson called for his controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which the EU argued would breach international law, to be restored if the new deal does not work out.
“I’m going to find it very difficult to vote for something like this myself, because I believed we should’ve done something very different. No matter how much plaster came off the ceiling in Brussels,” he said.
“I hope that it will work and I also hope that if it doesn’t work we will have the guts to employ that Bill again, because I have no doubt at all that that is what brought the EU to negotiate seriously.”