The UK House of Commons voted 515 to 29 to support the Draft Windsor Framework (Democratic Scrutiny) Regulations 2023 today, Wednesday, March 22.
Wednesday's vote was on the Stormont Brake portion of the Windsor Framework, which was unveiled by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on February 27 with the aim of resolving the longstanding Northern Ireland Protocol dilemma.
The Stormont Brake would allow for 30 Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly from two or more parties to temporarily stop an amended or replaced EU goods rule or part of a rule that "would have a significant impact specific to the everyday lives of communities."
The Regulations voted upon and passed in the House of Commons on Wednesday provide for a new Windsor Framework Democratic Scrutiny Committee within the Assembly to support MLAs in considering whether the Stormont Brake should be used.
❌ Before: Rules set by EU
✅ Now: Can stop new EU rules
The new agreement introduces a Stormont Brake.
This goes further than just giving Northern Ireland a say over new EU rules, it means they can block them altogether. pic.twitter.com/feJot2A2Th— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) February 28, 2023
Wednesday's vote in the UK House of Commons won support from Northern Ireland's SDLP and Alliance parties.
Ahead of Wednesday's vote, the SDLP said in a statement that while it "has raised serious concerns about elements of the deal," the party decided that "the balance of the deal which creates a clear path toward the restoration of devolution should be supported in the interests of people, communities, and businesses in Northern Ireland."
Similar to the SDLP, Alliance Party Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MP said ahead of Wednesday's vote that his party would vote in favor of the measures.
"We do have some reservations regarding the Stormont Brake, especially concerning the stability of the Assembly and uncertainty for businesses regarding the applicability of updated or new EU law," Farry said. "However, we recognise there are significant safeguards in place and the circumstances where something can be blocked should be very limited."
The Stormont Brake vote also received the support of 281 members of Prime Minister Sunak's Conservative party, and 160 members of Labour.
Sinn Féin abstains from UK Parliament, though the party has signaled its support for the wider Windsor Framework and continues to urge for a return to power-sharing in Stormont.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, head of the DUP, said his party would be voting against the measure, adding that "there is not a sustainable basis at this stage to enable us to restore Stormont." The DUP has been refusing to enter power-sharing in Stormont as a matter of protest against the Nothern Ireland Protocol.
Also voting against the measures on Wednesday were 22 Conservatives, including notably former Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.
Northern Ireland Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris welcomed the result of Wednesday's vote, saying in part that "The democratic safeguard provided by the Stormont Brake, as well as the other new arrangements in the Windsor Framework, support stability and prosperity in Northern Ireland."
The vote occurred the same day that the results from a new The Irish News-Institute of Irish Studies-University of Liverpool survey found that 45% of people in Northern Ireland support the Windsor Framework, 38.1% neither support or oppose it, and 16.9% oppose it.
According to the PA, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly is due to meet with Vice President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič in London on Friday to formally adopt the Windsor pact at a meeting of the joint committee on the Withdrawal Agreement.