U.K. Parliament Finally Passes Brexit Bill

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January 11, 2020

The U.K. House of Commons has voted to approve the deal put forward by Prime Minister Boris Johnson with regard to leaving the European Union. Assuming approval by the House of the Lords, the bill will become law in time for the planned January 31 exit.

Brexit

The vote was 330 in favor and 231 against, much more than enough to pass the bill and more of a majority than had been hoped for during previous debates.

One major difference between the new bill and the one that didn't get passed previously is that the new post-EU reality for the U.K. will not include a "backstop" at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The U.K. includes Northern Ireland. Because Ireland and the U.K. have both been part of the EU, the 310-mile-long border between Ireland and Northern Ireland has been a "soft" one, meaning that no physical inspections of people and goods or restrictions on entry, such as passport control, have been necessary.

The new bill provides for a modified customs union between Ireland and the U.K. along that border. U.K. customs rules will govern any goods that go from non-EU countries into Northern Ireland and stay there. EU customs rules will govern those goods if they are intended to go on to Ireland.

The bill gives Northern Ireland's devolved assembly the right of consent over the deal, which will also be subject a vote of continuance very four years, not only Northern Ireland's assembly but also in the U.K. Parliament.

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