Brexit, Gb: first yes to law for unilateral changes to the Northern Ireland protocol

The move risks creating new tensions with the EU

First green light from the GB Parliament to the bill wanted by the government of Boris Johnson to unilaterally modify parts of the Brexit agreement agreed with the EU on Northern Ireland. The House of Commons approved it with 295 votes against 221. The move risks creating new tensions with the EU, which has already decided to reopen the infringement procedure opened in March 2021 and suspended in September 2021.

Former Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May said a bill allowing ministers to cancel parts of the deal would violate international law and damage the UK’s reputation. But Foreign Minister Liz Truss said there was no other option to “fix” the problems the deal created.

The bill would allow ministers to change the part of the 2019 agreement that introduced post-Brexit controls on goods sent from Britain to Northern Ireland. Border controls were designed to avoid controls at the UK’s border with the Republic of Ireland, but are highly unpopular among Northern Irish Unionists.