The bill of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to return, in violation of international law, on certain commitments in the Brexit Agreement, passed a first obstacle on Monday, being adopted in the House of Commons.
The project was adopted despite the fact that part of the conservative camp opposed it, reports AFP.
An affront to Europeans in the midst of trade negotiations, the bill, which contains controversial provisions on Northern Ireland, was approved with 340 votes in favor and 263 against, after a day of heated debates in the House of Commons on Brexit, which officially entered into force on 31 January.
The vote comes as no surprise given Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s comfortable majority in the lower house of the British parliament, but the continuation of parliamentary proceedings could be more uncertain, especially with regard to examining an amendment early next week that would imposes a deadlock in parliament before any amendment to the agreement to leave the EU.
There is also a need for a vote in the House of Lords, where there are fears that the adoption of the bill could affect Britain ‘s credibility on the international stage.
The project is key to “maintaining Britain’s political and economic integrity”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come to the House of Commons to support his proposal “essential to maintaining Britain’s political and economic integrity”.
He accused the EU of using the peacekeeping provisions in Northern Ireland as “lever” in the ongoing negotiations and that it threatens to create “a customs border in our own country”.
His bill represents a “safety net” or a “insurance policy” which London will not have to resort to if it reaches an agreement with Brussels.
“No British Prime Minister, no government, no parliament could accept” such conditions, Johnson argued, in particular in response to criticism from five of his predecessors, from John Major to Theresa May.
Special customs provisions for Northern Ireland
The Treaty lays down special customs provisions for Northern Ireland, intended in particular to avoid the re-establishment of a physical border between the Republic of Ireland, a member of the EU and the British province, in accordance with the 1998 peace agreement.
Northern Ireland must comply with certain European provisions for four years, in particular with regard to trade in goods. In London’s view, the EU is threatening to refuse to include Britain in the list of countries authorized to export food to that territory, which would prevent imports into Northern Ireland from the rest of the country.
Trade negotiations with the EU will resume on Tuesday in Brussels
Despite these strong tensions, negotiations with the EU on the future trade relationship are set to resume on Tuesday in Brussels. Discussions so far have not yielded significant results on two topics of interest: London ‘s compliance with rules to avoid unfair competition and conditions for access to British waters for fishermen in EU Member States.
The two sides said an agreement should be reached in October to avoid tariffs between Britain and the European bloc, which risks exacerbating the historic economic crisis caused by the new coronavirus pandemic.