White flags have gone up: Brexit deal a betrayal of the union and handing Dublin power over Northern Ireland - Johnson and Rees-Mogg slam draft text
Hardline Brexiteers Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson have described the draft agreement between the EU and the UK as a "betrayal of the union" and of handing more power to Dublin than London for governing Northern Ireland in some aspects.
"For the first time since partition, Dublin - under these proposals - would have more say in some aspects of the government of Northern Ireland than London," said former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
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It comes as a draft deal between the EU and UK has been agreed with individual Cabinet ministers meeting the Prime Minister and a full Cabinet meeting to be held on Wednesday afternoon.
It is understood the deal includes a UK-wide backstop with "specific provisions for Northern Ireland" and a review mechanism.
Both Boris Johson and Jacob Rees-Mogg said the deal as they had seen it could not be agreed and accused Theresa May of breaking her promises.
The DUP said it predicted the deal would be a "hard sell" for Parliament and has called on Cabinet to reject the deal.
Sammy Wilson said he expected a call from the Prime Minister "fairly soon". He said the rumours they had heard was that Northern Ireland would be treated differently to the rest of the UK in the deal.
It is a quite incredible state of affairs. Boris Johnson
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson said he would vote against the deal, claiming it was "vassal state stuff" and urged the Cabinet to "chuck it out".
He said he expected the deal to be "pretty much" what had been agreed a few week ago "we are going to stay in the customs union on this deal, we are going to stay effectively in large parts of the single market and that means it's vassal state stuff".
He told the BBC: "For the first time in a thousand years, this place, this Parliament, will not have a say over the laws that govern this country. It is a quite incredible state of affairs."
Mr Johnson added: "For the first time since partition, Dublin - under these proposals - would have more say in some aspects of the government of Northern Ireland than London.
"I don't see how you can support it from a democratic point of view, I don't see how unionists can support it, and I don't see how you can support it if you believe in the economic and political freedom of this country."
He claimed the deal was "making a nonsense of Brexit so I hope the Cabinet will do the right thing and I hope they chuck it out".
It is a failure of the Government's negotiating position, it is a failure to deliver on Brexit and it is potentially dividing up the United Kingdom. Jacob Rees-Mogg
Jacob Rees-Mogg said Theresa May should stick to her principles and if the leaked agreement he had seen was correct he would "find it very difficult to trust anything that comes out of Downing Street".
He said there had been a complete change in the government's approach very recently.
"The Prime Minister said she would not agree to anything that would separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.... basically the white flags have gone up all over Whitehall.
The leader of the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Tory MPs, said the reported deal represented a betrayal of Theresa May's promise to maintain the integrity of the United Kingdom.
"If what we have heard is true, this fails to meet the Conservative Party manifesto and it fails to meet many of the commitments that the Prime Minister makes.
"It would keep us in the customs union and de facto the single market. This is the vassal state.
"It is a failure of the Government's negotiating position, it is a failure to deliver on Brexit and it is potentially dividing up the United Kingdom.
"It is very hard to see any reason why the Cabinet should support Northern Ireland being ruled from Dublin."
Belfast Telegraph Digital