The British House of Commons on Monday approved a government bill to amend trade relations with Northern Ireland by 295 votes to 221. The proposal now moves to the committee stage, where the proposal is examined in more detail.
Earlier this month, the government in London announced plans to change the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol. It was part of the Brexit agreement with the European Union, and should ensure that there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland after Brexit. Northern Ireland belongs to the United Kingdom while Ireland belongs to the European Union.
Such a frontier could jeopardize the expensive peace between the pro-Ireland Catholics and the pro-British Protestants on the island.
London says the protocol makes trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK more difficult and requires the people of Northern Ireland to continue to follow Brussels’ rules. The European Union subsequently launched three criminal cases against the United Kingdom.
The proposal is also not controversial within British circles. Not all members of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party voted for him. Former Prime Minister Theresa May, among others, disagrees with the government’s plans. “This is not legal, it will not achieve its objectives and it will lower the UK’s standing in the world,” May said.
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