DUP seek 'reworking and change' to Windsor Framework with vote on Stormont brake due next week

Fri 17 Mar 2023
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

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The DUP has called for “further clarification, reworking and change” to the Windsor Framework.

Party leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson delivered his most detailed assessment of the agreement during a trip to Washington and complained the deal does not remove all barriers to trade with Great Britain.

The FT reports Donaldson conceded that the framework represented “significant progress” but said “there remains key areas of concern which require further clarification, reworking and change”.

According to Belfast Live, the DUP wants to see the legislation in full before agreeing to support it.

No rapid Stormont return

Donaldson has given a panel of DUP experts until the end of the month to report back on the deal, which makes it unlikely Stormont will return to business before the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement on 10 April.

According to Politics Home, Donaldson will have discussed the party’s stance on the deal with president Joe Biden during a St Patrick’s Day reception at the White House yesterday (16 March). 

The DUP leader has been meeting an array of senior political figures and tried to impress upon them the depth of unionist disaffection, reports the Newsletter.

According to Belfast Telegraph polling, Donaldson faces a quandary because two-thirds of Northern Ireland backs the Windsor Framework but 73% of DUP supporters oppose it.

US support

The Windsor Framework deal was agreed last month by the UK and EU, and is supported by the US. 

It has been reported that former president Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton will attend 25th anniversary events in Northern Ireland. Clinton was the first serving US president to visit the region.

Hillary Clinton has said she hopes the Windsor Framework will be progressed and that government in Stormont can be re-established. 

MP vote

Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has suggested MPs will get a vote on the deal in parliament within the next two to three weeks, reports Sky.

He has been visiting the region to promote the deal which the government claims will make trade between Britain and Nothern Ireland less bureaucratic.

The framework also introduces a mechanism called the ‘Stormont brake’ that enables Northern Irish politicians to block new EU rules from being introduced in the region. According to Politico, there will be a vote on this part of the deal on Wednesday next week (22 March).

Business support

The BBC reports that major businesses including Amazon, Sainsbury’s, Airbus and Coca-Cola have backed the Windsor Framework in an open letter to PM Rishi Sunak, which also called for the Northern Ireland Executive to be restored.

The groups welcomed the framework saying “it represents a huge opportunity for both the Northern Irish and Great British economies”.

Former Labour prime minister, Sir Tony Blair, also added his support to the Framework, saying it "represents the most practical way forward that minimises all the theoretical objections".