Britain’s House of Commons on Monday approved a government bill to amend its trade relationship with Northern Ireland. There were 295 votes in favour, against 221 votes. The proposal now moves to the committee stage, where more consideration is given.
Earlier this month, the government in London announced plans to change the so-called protocol for Northern Ireland. 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 pro-British Protestants on the island.
London says the protocol will make trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK more difficult and will require 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 in 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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