British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s attempt to tear up parts of the post-Brexit trade deal he signed with the European Union has cleared its first hurdle in parliament, despite warnings from opponents that the move is illegal.
Lawmakers voted 295 to 221 on Monday night to give initial approval to a bill allowing British officials to rewrite trade rules for Northern Ireland. The vote sets the stage for a detailed review of the bill in the coming weeks.
If approved, the legislation would remove checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, removing parts of a trade treaty Johnson signed before Britain left the EU in 2020.
The UK government says the rules, known as the Northern Ireland Protocol, burden businesses and undermine peace in Northern Ireland. He argues that the unilateral decision is justified under international law due to the “truly exceptional situation”.
Johnson’s opponents say the move is illegal and moving forward will seriously damage Britain’s international reputation.
The EU has threatened to retaliate against the UK if it goes ahead with its plan to rewrite the rules of the post-Brexit deal, raising the specter of a trade war between the two main economic partners .
Johnson said he believed the plan could become law by the end of the year if parliament cooperates. The government wants to fast-track the bill through parliament before lawmakers take their summer recess.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that shares a border with an EU country, Ireland. When Britain left the European Union and its borderless free trade area, the two sides agreed to keep the Irish land border free of customs posts and other checks, because an open border is a mainstay key to the peace process that ended decades of violence in the north. Ireland.
Instead, to protect the EU’s single market, checks are carried out on certain goods, such as meat and eggs, entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
Johnson’s Conservative government says the EU’s overzealous implementation means the rules are not working as intended and is causing a political crisis in Northern Ireland.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)