Daily Mail

Windsor pact can be a Tory turning point


as the dust settles on Rishi sunak’s vaunted Brexit deal, it is increasing­ly apparent that it could genuinely be a landmark achievemen­t.

When it comes to any major change in the vexed politics of northern ireland, it’s wise not to declare victory too soon.

But the fact that the unionists have not already rushed to protest suggests the Windsor Framework may yet be a considerab­le triumph for Mr sunak.

Through diplomacy and strength of vision he appears to have changed the political weather – not just here but in Brussels, too.

Where once there was relentless hostility over Britain’s decision to leave the Eu, he has overseen his own version of detente.

Crucially, the framework frees trade between Great Britain and northern ireland from the tangle of red tape it was ensnared in, without conceding sovereignt­y.

The revised protocol means the province should be able to reap all the benefits of the European single market, while also unleashing a wave of investment and enjoying unfettered trade within the uk.

True, sticking points remain. There are questions over the role of the European Court of Justice in the arbitratio­n of disputes. This is something the DuP is naturally suspicious of. its leaders are understand­ably poring over the deal’s small print to expose any potential traps.

The DuP is hardly synonymous with the concept of compromise, but knowing when to accept victory is a crucial political skill. The revised agreement undoubtedl­y cements northern ireland’s place within the uk.

The deal vindicates Boris Johnson’s threat to unilateral­ly scrap the protocol. That focused minds in Brussels and got the Eu around the negotiatin­g table.

The shooting of a policeman in Omagh last week by Republican terrorists also served as a vivid reminder of the danger of ignoring sectarian passions 25 years after the Good Friday agreement. There are still those on both sides of the divide who seek to return the province to its troubled past.

it’s too soon to put out the bunting but first impression­s are that Mr sunak has pulled off a seemingly impossible feat.

he must now take that momentum and use the same skills to tackle the other mountainou­s problems facing the country.

his first task is to turbocharg­e Brexit. so far our attempts to exploit our regained freedoms for the national good have been distinctly half-hearted, not buccaneeri­ng.

The PM could start by axing the six point hike in corporatio­n tax to 25 per cent (it’s 12.5 per cent in the Republic of ireland) . if the Government is sincere in its claim that it is trying to stimulate growth, then such a ruinous charge on business defies belief.

he could also use some of the unexpected £30billion Treasury windfall to cut personal taxation, putting more money into people’s pockets and encouragin­g them to spend.

next, he should deploy the formidable grasp of detail and political courage that helped him clear the final Brexit obstacle when confrontin­g the small boats crisis.

Public concern about illegal immigratio­n is sky-high and tackling it must be near the top of his agenda. More cordial relations with the Eu could improve co-operation against people-smuggling gangs.

The PM must also get on the front foot when dealing with the striking unions, nhs backlogs and the stultifyin­g scourge of wokery that poisons public life.

since entering no10, Mr sunak has proved himself credible and competent. his bold opposition to gender reforms has seen off nicola sturgeon in scotland.

and there is no genuine affection among voters for untrustwor­thy sir keir starmer, who holds no belief that he won’t change in the name of political expedience.

With the Tories miles behind in the polls, the time for complacenc­y is long gone. But there is a chance the Windsor Framework could be a turning point in their fortunes.

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