The PM’s spokesperson has just told journalists that “no deal has been done as yet” on the Northern Ireland protocol.
Some reports have claimed that a technical deal has been agreed, and that it has been sitting on PM Rishi Sunak’s desk for a few days, but what needs to be resolved are the political optics around it.
So what are these optics?
Has Boris Johnson go anything to do with it?
It comes as Rishi Sunak has been warned that more than 100 Tory MPs could rebel over a deal with the EU to help break the post-Brexit deadlock in Northern Ireland, as Boris Johnson launched a major intervention calling for him to take a tougher line with Brussels.
In the first pronouncement by Johnson on Brexit since he left office, a source close to him said he believed “it would be a great mistake” to drop the legislation and hinted that it should be maintained as leverage over the EU.
The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill was set in motion when Mr Johnson was PM, but Mr Sunak has been meeting EU leaders to agree a new deal.
Since 2021, certain trade checks cover some goods crossing the Irish Sea.
A source close to Mr Johnson said the former PM thought it would be a “great mistake” to move away from his plan.
On Johnson’s intervention, Penny Mordaunt, the Commons leader, claimed it was “not entirely unhelpful”. She said, “Boris is being Boris.”
Harsh or fair?