LONDON (Reuters) – Legislation allowing Britain to scrap some of the rules on post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland cleared the final stage of its passage through parliament’s lower House of Commons on Wednesday and will move to the House of Lords.
Lawmakers voted by 267 to 195 in favour of approving the Northern Ireland Protocol bill, which would unilaterally overturn part of Britain’s divorce deal from the EU agreed in 2020, at its third reading.
Tensions with the EU have simmered for months after Britain accused Brussels of insisting on a heavy-handed approach to the movement of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland – checks needed to keep an open border with EU member Ireland.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described the changes he is seeking as “relatively trivial” and ministers insist the move does not break international law, but the EU has started legal proceedings against Britain over its plans.
The bill will face a bigger challenge in the upper house, the unelected House of Lords, where the government doesn’t have a majority and many peers have expressed concern about it.
Parliament breaks for six weeks on Thursday, so the legislation will not be debated in the House of Lords until at least September.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Grant McCool)