In the night from Monday to Tuesday, the British House of Lords partially rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s controversial Brexit law. Specifically, it concerns the parts that violate international law. This mainly concerns agreements about Northern Ireland, which London and the European Union have laid down in the Withdrawal Treaty.
The members of the House of Lords voted in a debate (433 in favor and 165 against) in favor of removing the clause in the bill, which allows British ministers to unilaterally amend parts of the withdrawal treaty with the EU.
According to Johnson, the so-called internal market law is necessary to protect the internal movement of goods in the United Kingdom. He sees it as a “safety net” and “insurance policy” to preserve the political and economic integrity of the country in the absence of a trade deal with the EU.
Johnson has acknowledged that the law violates international law. Many of his party members fear that this would put the UK’s international reputation at risk. The House of Commons has previously given the law the green light. The House of Lords now says that the passages violating the treaty with the EU should be deleted, as Brussels has demanded.
Critics say the bill threatens to undermine peace in Northern Ireland. Johnson can now choose to delete the passages in question or keep them if the House of Commons re-examines the bill next month. He said earlier on Monday that the clauses in question constitute a “vital” safety net.
Optimistic voices about negotiations with the EU
Should the EU and UK negotiate a trade deal, the passages may no longer be necessary. The negotiations on this are in a final phase. There are some optimistic voices.
Due to Brexit, the British are no longer bound by EU laws from 1 January. In the Withdrawal Treaty, the EU retains control over trade with Northern Ireland, partly to prevent checks from being carried out at the border with EU Member State Ireland.