The British House of Commons on Monday passed the government’s bill to amend trade relations with Northern Ireland by 295 votes to 221. The proposal now moves on to the committee stage, where the proposal is further examined.
Earlier this month, the government in London announced plans to change the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol. That was part of the Brexit agreement with the European Union and should ensure that there would be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland after Brexit. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and Ireland is part of the EU.
Such a border could jeopardize the expensive peace between pro-Irish Catholics and pro-British Protestants on the island.
However, the protocol complicates trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK and forces Northern Irish people to continue to follow Brussels rules, London says. The EU subsequently launched three criminal proceedings against the United Kingdom.
The proposal is also not uncontroversial within British circles. Not everyone within Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s conservative party voted in favour. Former Prime Minister Theresa May, among others, does not agree with the plans of the government. “It’s not legal, it won’t achieve its goals and it will diminish the UK’s prestige in the world,” May said.