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Windsor Framework, Brexit, Northern Ireland, trade, regulation
The Windsor Framework, the new package of measures agreed by the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) as well as the new name for the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, was presented in February 2023 amidst considerable fanfare. This article examines the rationale for the new Framework amongst the negotiators and how some of its headline provisions impact upon those most exposed to the out-workings of any deal – those living and doing business in Northern Ireland. We investigate the possible implications for Northern Ireland of the new minimalist regulatory alignment in the trade in goods and the possibility of a ‘cooperation dividend’ stemming from warmer UK–EU relations. In particular, we examine the operation and possible limitations upon the ‘Stormont Brake’ mechanism. This article ultimately assesses whether Sunak’s Windsor Framework will be any more successful than the May Backstop and Johnson Protocol before it at ‘getting Brexit done’.