RISHI Sunak’s new deal on post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland has cleared its first Commons test despite opposition from some Tory MPs and the DUP.

MPs voted 515 to 29, with a majority of 486, in favour of regulations to implement the Stormont brake section of the Windsor Framework.

The Stormont brake is a mechanism in the Windsor Framework agreed by Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on February 27 to change the way the Northern Ireland Protocol operates.

It gives the Northern Ireland Assembly the power to object to changes to EU rules that apply in Northern Ireland.

The National:

The division list showed 22 Conservative MPs rebelled to vote against the Stormont brake regulations.

They included former party chairman Jake Berry, former cabinet minister Simon Clarke and former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.

Six DUP MPs and independent MP Andrew Bridgen also opposed the regulations.

Feisty exchanges preceded the vote in the Commons, indicating that the debate on the new deal between the UK and EU isn't over.

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Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Jim Shannon said the Windsor Framework was being “shoved” through Parliament and questioned the Conservatives’ commitment to the Union.

He called the deal the “Windsor knot”, adding: “The United Kingdom gives the EU sovereignty over the courts and power over Northern Ireland.”

His party leader, Jeffrey Donaldson, previously said while the Windsor Framework represented "significant progress" in addressing concerns with the Northern Ireland Protocol, the Stormont brake does not deal with some of the "fundamental problems at the heart of our current difficulties".

The National: DUP leader Sir Jeffrey DonaldsonDUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (Image: PA)

The DUP is currently blocking devolution at Stormont in protest at the terms of the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, meanwhile, told MPs ahead of the vote: “Without this measure, Northern Ireland would continue to have full and automatic dynamic alignment with EU goods rules with no say for the Northern Ireland Assembly and no veto for amending or replacing those measures.

“That is an intolerable situation and I urge all MPs to vote to end that full and automatic dynamic alignment.”

Heaton-Harris said the EU could initiate a dispute if it believed the UK had improperly used the brake.

But he earlier explained: “We need to be clear that any dispute could only arise after the rules have been disapplied in Northern Ireland and the resolution of that dispute would be for an arbitration panel. The European Court of Justice would have no role in resolving that dispute.”

The Windsor Framework deal initially sparked outrage from the SNP because it gives Northern Ireland access to the Single Market, and the party demanded a similar arrangement be made for Scotland. 

But Richard Thompson, the SNP's spokesperson on Northern Ireland, said his party would support the motion, though he did so while telling the Commons: “In terms of its function as a brake, it’s perhaps questionable whether or not that brake lever is actually connected to anything, and only time will tell.”