MICHAEL Gove is facing criticism for praising the Brexit deal for allowing the future of Northern Ireland to be decided by its people - just months after saying he'd respond to a Section 30 request with a "flat no". 

Under the new deal agreed by Boris Johnson and the EU today, Northern Ireland would be subject to a range of new proposals which replace the controversial backstop. The Northern Irish Assembly would be able to vote every four years on whether or not to continue following those trading arrangements.

Gove described the plans, which are not supported by Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), as a "great new deal". 

Appearing on Sky News, the Tory Cabinet member said: "We want to make sure that our United Kingdom is stronger. 

"But the backstop’s been ditched. The EU are clear, and actually it’s a very big achievement by the Prime Minister because until very recently the EU were saying there was no way the backstop would go – it’s now gone. And it does mean that the future of Northern Ireland will be decided by the people of Northern Ireland.

"A majority of the people in Northern Ireland will be able to decide whether or not they want the arrangements of this deal to persist in the future."

READ MORE: Michael Gove accuses SNP of undermining Brexit

In 2016, both Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain in the EU.

Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell hit out at Gove's "untenable" position.

On Twitter, he wrote: “'Future of Northern Ireland is now decided by the people of Northern Ireland “ says @michaelgove - a principle that, however, he refuses to accept when applied to Scotland. That will prove to be an untenable position."

During the Tory leadership contest this summer, Gove was asked how he would handle a possible Section 30 request for an independence referendum to be held by the Scottish Government

He responded: “It’s a flat no.”

READ MORE: Anger as Gove brands SNP 'sectarian' – AGAIN

He has accused the SNP of wanting to "smash up" the United Kingdom and using "sectarian" arguments.