Controversial Brexit provisions: Boris Johnson suffers a setback in the House of Lords

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves his office at 10 Downing Street for a meeting at the Foreign Office, London on November 10, 2020. REUTERS / Toby Melville

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The upper house of the British Parliament has inflicted a major defeat on the Prime Minister over its controversial bill providing for exemptions from the Brexit deal, and this as negotiations resumed between London and the European Union.


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 Lords' resounding



to the government bill on

Monday night served as a reminder of the serious unease caused in Parliament when Boris Johnson wanted to break international law, reports our correspondent in London,

Muriel Delcroix


clauses removed

by the upper house allowed London to, among other things, bypass the obligation for businesses in Northern Ireland to fill out customs forms when shipping goods to Britain.

It was one of the thorniest subjects during

negotiations with the European Union

 to find a solution which avoids the return of a physical border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which is part of the Twenty-Seven.

The government will reintroduce the excluded clauses

But hardly the outcome of the vote known, Downing Street replied that the government would reintroduce the discarded clauses when the text comes back to members of the Commons.

Boris Johnson has a very large majority.

For the government, these clauses represent 


 crucial "

legal safety net

" " 

to protect the integrity

 " of the United Kingdom, and which must ensure North Irish businesses unimpeded access to Britain.

If the UK passes a law designed to violate international law


then there will be no trade deal,

 " Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney tweeted Monday evening.


The EU cannot ratify a new deal while the UK is legislating to violate a previous deal

,” he added, “

trust and good faith matter



Disagree with Washington on the bill

But by being stubborn, Boris Johnson risks upsetting not only Brussels, as the discussions enter their home stretch, but

also now the United States


New President-elect

Joe Biden, who is proud of his Irish origins

, fears the bill will undermine the Good Friday peace deal that ended the conflict on the Irish island.

He thus warns that there will be no trade agreement between London and Washington if these controversial clauses are maintained.

However, the text will not come back to MPs before December: the only way out for Boris Johnson is

to have by then concluded an agreement with Brussels

, which would make these controversial clauses obsolete.

► See also

: View of London and Dublin, the election of Biden could be a game-changer for Brexit


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