March 22, 2023 14:51 GMT
Relief For PM As Only 21 Con MPs Vote Against Windsor Framework
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In a boost for PM Rishi Sunak, only 21 Conservative MPs voted against a statutory instrument related to the 'Stormont brake', a part of the Windsor Framework intended to resolve issues with the Northern Ireland protocol. The vote on the instrument passed by 515 votes to 29. Presuming that all eight MPs from the hard-line unionist Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) voted against, and no Labour/SNP/Lib Dem MPs voted against, this would mean 21 Conservative MPs rebelled.
- Given that former Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss both came out against the framework, and the Brexiteer European Research Group (ERG) of backbench Conservatives recommended its members vote against, having only 21 rebels will be seen as a 'win' for Sunak's plan. Anything over 34 would have been tricky for Sunak, as this would have seen him reliant on opposition votes (in a normal scenario where the opposition votes against the gov't).
- The inability of the once-powerful ERG to muster a significant rebellion, as well as the seemingly minimal influence of either of Sunak's predecessors in shifting Conservative MP's minds, would seem to indicate that in the short-term at least, the PM will be able to pursue any Brexit related plans with little hindrance from the right of his party.