King to host EU boss for tea in move that could spark Tory row over Brexit deal

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King Charles III arriving for a visit to The Felix Project in Poplar, East London, to recognise the staff, volunteers and partner organisations who work to provide meals to some of London's most vulnerable people. Picture date: Wednesday February 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story ROYAL King. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

KING Charles will meet EU boss Ursula von der Leyen for tea at Windsor Castle today, Buckingham Palace has said.

The EU Commission leader is in town to meet Rishi Sunak and formally shake on their post-Brexit Northern Ireland deal.

King Charles will meet with the EU boss this afternoon

Ms Von Der Leyen said as she arrived in the UK on the Eurostar this morning: “I’m glad to be in the UK today to meet with Prime Minister @RishiSunak.

“I’m looking forward to turning a page and opening a new chapter with our partner and friend.”

But the meeting with the King risks a huge row with Tory MPs – who say the King should not be getting involved with the Brexit deal at all as he risks getting dragged into politics.

No10 insisted last night that any meeting with the King would be totally separate to the Northern Ireland agreement.

And Buckingham Palace today said that the meeting was on the advice of the Government.

A Buckingham palace spokesman said: “The King is pleased to meet any world leader if they are visiting Britain and it is the Government’s advice that he should do so.”

But MPs hit out at the move to host the EU chief in Berkshire – with suggestions it may be dubbed the Windsor agreement.

The DUP’s Sammy Wilson said it was politically “naïve” to involve him.

He told Sky: “Not only is the prime minister naïve if that’s what he was planning to do, but this is a cynical use, or abuse of the King.”

Former Labour MP Lady Hoey said any such meeting would have been “outrageous”.

Jacob Rees-Mogg told the Times the planned meeting with the king was “on the borderline of constitutional propriety”.

Mr Sunak and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen will meet in No10 to iron out the final details of an agreement on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Once a deal is done, Mr Sunak will update his Cabinet before the pair make a formal announcement at a press conference in Windsor.

The EU and Britain have been striving to secure a new arrangement before the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement in April to smooth trade problems over the border and get the government in Stormont back up and running.

Following hours of negotiations, Brussels agreed to a new system of red and green lanes for goods crossing from Britain into the province.

Products destined for NI only will be subject to minimal checks in the green lane, while those heading to the Republic will go through customs checks in the red lane.

There will also be a “Stormont lock” to give elected politicians in NI a say over which EU trade rules they follow.

Mr Sunak’s new deal won’t get a tick of approval from everyone.

Some members of the Brexiteer European Research Group have marked any involvement of the European Court of Justice in the province as a red line.

Unionist MPs have said the same, however they’ll wait to read the fine print before confirming disapproval.

All eyes will also be on ex-PM Boris Johnson, who over the past week spoke out against Mr Sunak’s efforts to end the dispute.