- By Sam Francis
- Political reporter, BBC News
Boris Johnson has said he will find it “very difficult” to vote for Rishi Sunak’s new Brexit deal for Northern Ireland.
The former prime minister said the deal was not about Britain taking back control.
It is the first time he has commented since Sunak unveiled the Windsor deal on Monday.
The agreement with the EU aims to fix post-Brexit trade problems in Northern Ireland.
But Johnson said it was “a version of the solution that was offered” to Liz Truss when she served as his foreign secretary last year.
Speaking in Westminster, the former prime minister said: “This is the EU graciously adamant about doing what we want in our country, not by our laws but by theirs.
“I’m going to find it very difficult to vote for something like this myself, as I think we should have done something different.”
The deal will act as a “drag anchor for non-conformity” from the EU, he added.
“Brexit is nothing unless we in this country do things differently.”
Johnson called for his controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which the EU claimed would breach international law, to be reinstated if the new deal does not work.
The bill was scrapped by Sunak, who told MPs that his new deal “put beyond doubt that we have now taken back control”.
MPs are expected to hold a vote on Sunak’s Windsor framework in the coming weeks.
Johnson may decide to abstain rather than actively vote against it.
He remains an influential force on the Tory backbenches, but it appears the majority of the party’s MPs will vote in favor of the new deal.
Labor has also said it will support it, guaranteeing it will become law.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – whose support is crucial to restoring the power-sharing government in Northern Ireland – has yet to give its verdict on the deal.
The Brexiteer European Research (ERG) group of Tory MPs has hired lawyers to study the text in detail before delivering its verdict.
Sunak has previously said the new deal is about “what’s best for the people of Northern Ireland” and not “personalities”.
He said the deal “will make a positive difference to everyone” in Northern Ireland.