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Brexiteers fearful DUP deal will harm UK power

The details on the DUP deal have been worked on right up to the last moment.

It was only shortly after 11am that it was revealed that Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton Harris would address the House of Commons today.

This was followed by a unscheduled Business Statement from the Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt – taken as being an explanation of how the new legislation will go through.

The deal with the DUP is being dealt with by secondary legislation – effectively an add-on to an existing act – and can be rushed through.

There is the question of whether it will be the subject of a debate or a simple yes/no vote.

Rumblings were reported this morning that Brexiteers are concerned about the deal.

They are reported by the i newspaper to be worried that it gives more power to the so-called ‘Stormont Brake’ part of the Windsor Agreement which allows the Northern Ireland Assembly to review new EU legislation.

The Brexiteers fear this will affect the ability of the UK as a whole to diverge from EU legislation.

It is reported that under the terms of the deal, new laws in Westminster could be screened to ensure that they do not create extra trade barriers between the UK and Northern Ireland.

The Unionists’ concern is that unless this ‘brake’ is strengthened – and with Northern Ireland remaining in the EU Single Market for goods – then they will become increasingly separated from the rest of the UK in terms of trade regulation.

But Brexiteers are worried that this arrangement would be an obstacle to the UK being able to introduce regulations different to those in the EU.

Ironically the details were announced on both the fourth anniversary of Brexit and on the day that the UK finally introduces customs checks on EU goods.

The customs checks which were part of the post-Brexit deal with the EU have already been delayed five times by the British government which was worried about the effect on the economy.

Agreement on the DUP deal could get delayed if Brexiteers or rebel Unionists demand a debate, but as things stand the legislation will be passed tomorrow in time for a new Northern Ireland Assembly to be set up at the weekend.

The other part of the agreement – the £3.3 billion (€3.8 billion) payment to the Northern Ireland Assembly is being seen in Britain as little more than a ‘bung’ to get the deal done.

Unionists also secured a sweetener of £1 billion (€1.2 billion) in extra funding to Northern Ireland to prop up Theresa May’s minority government in 2017.

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