The British House of Commons on Monday passed government legislation to change its trade relationship with Northern Ireland. There were 295 votes in favor and 221 against. The proposal now goes to the committee stage, where further consideration is given.
Earlier this month, the government in London announced plans to change the so-called protocol for Northern Ireland. It is part of the Brexit agreement with the European Union and should ensure that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland after Brexit. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom while Ireland is part of the EU.
Such a border could jeopardize a costly peace between pro-Irish Catholics and pro-British Protestants on the island.
The protocol makes trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK more difficult and ensures that Northern Irish people must continue to follow Brussels rules, London said. The European Union then launched three criminal proceedings against the UK.
The proposal is also not controversial in British circles. Not everyone in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party voted in favor. Former Prime Minister Theresa May, among others, disagreed with the government’s plan. “It is not legal, it will not achieve its objectives and it will reduce Britain’s prestige in the world,” May said.
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