The two British ex-Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss have announced their no to the agreement with the EU on new Brexit rules for Northern Ireland. “The proposed agreements would either mean that Northern Ireland remains trapped by the EU legal order – and increasingly diverges from the rest of the UK,” Johnson told the Telegraph newspaper on Wednesday. Or the entire United Kingdom could not benefit from Brexit. “This is unacceptable,” said the former Conservative leader.

The PA news agency reported from those close to Johnson’s immediate successor that Truss would also vote against the agreement in the House of Commons on Wednesday. This was justified by the fact that the new regulation would have an “almost fatal” effect on Britain’s ability to deviate from EU regulations. In the afternoon, the House of Commons in London will decide on the agreement, which only came about after years of debate.

With their no, both Johnson and Truss are opposing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who had also inherited them as party leader. The new agreement aims to make trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK easier. The Northern Ireland Protocol, originally negotiated as part of Brexit, provides for a customs border in the Irish Sea. This is intended to prevent border controls between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland in order to prevent old conflicts from flaring up in the civil war region. But the regulation brought with it difficulties, for example when sending parcels or taking pets with you.

Johnson signed the internationally binding Northern Ireland Protocol himself, but soon criticized the agreement. In addition to him, other conservative MPs want to vote against the new agreement that Sunak negotiated with EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen. The government expects about 20 dissenters from its own ranks.