NI protocol: government denies Rishi Sunak wanted King Charles to endorse deal | King Charles III

Rishi Sunak did not intend to use King Charles to endorse his long-awaited deal to end the dispute with the EU over the Northern Ireland protocol, government sources said.

According to reports, there were plans for an in-person meeting between the King and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as part of a trip to the UK to seal the deal on Brexit trade deals.

“It would be wrong to suggest that the king would be involved in anything remotely political,” a government source told the PA news agency.

The meeting discussed on Saturday and the plan to announce a revised pact, code-named the Windsor deal, have already been scrapped, but hope remains for Monday’s announcement of a deal after Sunak and von der Leyen had “positive” discussions. on the Northern Ireland Protocol. on Friday.

Buckingham Palace said it would not comment.

Sammy Wilson, a Brexit spokesman for the Democratic Unionist party (DUP), said any consideration of involving the king was politically “naive”.

“Not only is the Prime Minister naïve if this is what he planned to do, but it is also a cynical use or abuse by the King,” Wilson told Sky News on Saturday.

He said it would mean “draggling the King into an extremely controversial political issue, not just in Northern Ireland but even within his own party”.

The DUP is boycotting power sharing in Northern Ireland in opposition to the protocol.

Controversy erupted when the government confirmed that it did not have a central database tracking regulatory disagreements between Britain and Northern Ireland, an issue that is at the heart of the DUP’s objections to the protocol.

David Jones, a leading member of the pro-Brexit Conservative European Research Group, says there are now 500 pieces of EU legislation that apply in Northern Ireland but have not applied in the rest of the UK since Brexit went into effect. force in 2020.

But Europe Minister Leo Docherty wrote to a House of Lords protocol committee on Friday to say there was no “single unit” in Whitehall monitoring the emergence of new EU laws, rules and regulations affecting Ireland. From north.

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He told Lord Jay, chairman of the committee, that monitoring disagreements was “a task which concerns and involves all government departments with relevant political remit”.

He added: “I would note that the impact assessments of UK regulatory proposals include cost/benefit analyzes of the effects of any divergence. While these impact assessments are not triggered when disagreements arise through EU-led changes to its regulations, monitoring processes and explanatory memorandums will allow the government and affected parties to assess the effects.”

The EU and Downing Street said the prime minister and von der Leyen would speak again in the “coming days”.

The pair have spoken three times in the past week, including face-to-face conversations on the sidelines of last Saturday’s Munich security conference.

Sunak is also expected to schedule a second meeting with the DUP, which has called for an end to EU law enforcement in Northern Ireland, something that is almost certainly off the table as that would require a complete rewrite of much of the protocol.

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