Britain’s bid for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to destroy part of the Northern Ireland Protocol has cleared the first hurdle in parliament. Despite concerns that the plan could violate international law, Conservative lawmakers did not vote against it.
Parliamentarians voted 295 to 221 to support the Northern Ireland Bill, which includes measures to remove checks on goods, flora and fauna that move from the UK to Northern Ireland, but dozens including former Prime Minister Theresa May. A Conservative member has withdrawn.
In response, Foreign Minister Liz Truss said the bill “provides a practical solution to the problems posed by the Protocol and protects the Good Friday Agreement.”
“The outcome of the negotiations remains our preference, but the EU must accept changes to the Protocol itself,” she wrote on Twitter.
Johnson signed the EU and Northern Ireland Protocol in 2019 as part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, along with measures aimed at preventing the harsh borders of Ireland’s islands.
However, the Protocol has been strongly opposed by members of the UK state, effectively keeping Northern Ireland within the EU Single Market while building the Irish Sea border between the state and the UK mainland. I am complaining that I am.
Northern Ireland has not had a functioning local government since February, when the Democratic Unionist Party, then the largest party in the regional parliament, withdrew from power-sharing executives in protest of the Protocol.
Johnson told reporters at the G7 Summit in Germany, “What we are trying to do is a balance between the Good Friday Agreement and the Good Friday Agreement, which I think is very important to our country. It’s about fixing it. “
He said the UK is trying to remove “unnecessary barriers to trade between Britain and Northern Ireland” but “never endangers the EU Single Market.”
“Compromise is needed”
However, this move is strongly opposed by the EU. The European Commission has accused the Johnson administration of intending to “unilaterally break international law” and has launched new legal action against Britain in retaliation.
Mr Truss said the bill had “strong legal legitimacy” and Britain continued to seek a negotiated solution, but some Conservatives weren’t convinced.
In a debate prior to the vote, Theresa May said she would not support the bill because she warned that it would “decrease” Britain’s global status.
She told Commons: “I have to tell the government. In my view, this bill is not legal in international law, it will not achieve its purpose and will undermine Britain’s position. The world, and I support it. I can not do it.”
Julian Smith, the former Secretary of State of Northern Ireland, described the bill as “a kind of evacuation from the core mission of doing whatever we can to negotiate a better protocol deal for Northern Ireland.” called.
He said the bill “has the risk of giving unionism the impression that a black-and-white solution is available, and the compromise is final after the bill has been dragged into the response and retaliation of the lords, courts, and the EU. Will be needed. ” .. “
PA Media contributed to this report.