ALLIES of Rishi Sunak today insisted the PM won’t sell out to Brussels on Northern Ireland negotiations.
But Brexit spartans hit back at No10, accusing officials of pushing ahead with talks without meaningfully engaging with Tory backbenchers and unionists.
Rishi Sunak and European Commission Ursula von der Leyen met for talks earlier this month at the Munich Security Conference in Germany
Downing Street is battling a growing backlash from Tory MPs and former ministers who say the PM’s proposed Brexit fix does not go far enough in ridding the province of meddling EU judges.
Mr Sunak has spent the week meeting “dozens” of MPs as he tries to sell the outlines of his Brussels deal.
There are fears ministers could quit the government if he doesn’t get negotiations right.
But this morning Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer insisted Mr Sunak is a true-blue Brexiteer who will never sell out to Brussels bureaucrats.
“Let’s give the PM a chance to come out with something,” Mr Mercer told Sky News.
“He’s attacking this, he is throwing everything he can. He voted for and campaigned hard for Brexit.
“So he is not going to sell anyone out or come up with a solution that is unfair or doesn’t deliver on what he thinks is Brexit.”
Today Tory Brexiteers accused No10 of not making meaningful attempts to engage with Eurosceptics.
A former minister told HOAR: “I’ve not seen much engagement.
“All I’ve had is a message asking me to hold fire because details aren’t settled. I wouldn’t describe that as engagement.”
Last night the DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and hard-line Brexiteers in the ERG met to plot tactics amid a hardening mood toward any compromise.
Arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees Mogg hit out publicly: “I don’t know why so much political capital has been spent on something without getting the DUP and the ERG onside first.
“It is quite surprising because this is very similar to what happened with Theresa May.”
But an ally of the PM who attended the ERG meeting said: “I thought Jeffrey was actually quite positive in many respects about the degree of progress.
“But there’s still some way to go.”
This evening Foreign Secretary James Cleverly will attempt to sell the No10 line as he addresses backbenchers at the 1922 Committee in parliament.
But before that, Mr Sunak is set to be grilled on the protocol at PMQs, where he will battle head-to-head with Sir Keir Starmer on the issue.
Tory MPs are also planning to take the PM to task on small boats.
Legislation to ban illegal migrants from Britain was due to be brought to parliament early this month.
But the Home Office are yet to release draft legislation.