UK parliament approves deal to end political stalemate in Northern Ireland

The region has been without devolved government since the pro-British DUP walked out in protest over the post-Brexit trade rules

By Reuters

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Anti-Brexit supporter waving a European Union flag walks towards the Palace of Westminster, home to the Houses of Parliament, central London, on January 31, 2024 during a gathering as new post-Brexit customs controls come into force. — AFP
Anti-Brexit supporter waving a European Union flag walks towards the Palace of Westminster, home to the Houses of Parliament, central London, on January 31, 2024 during a gathering as new post-Brexit customs controls come into force. — AFP

Published: Thu 1 Feb 2024, 10:06 PM

Last updated: Thu 1 Feb 2024, 10:07 PM

Britain's parliament voted on Thursday to revamp post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland, paving the way for the return within days of the region's power-sharing government after a two-year hiatus.

Lawmakers in the House of Commons approved the changes, without formal votes, including reducing checks on goods travelling from Britain to Northern Ireland, addressing the biggest grievance of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).


Shortly after the vote, the DUP formally requested a sitting of Northern Ireland's parliament in order to form a power-sharing government, a key part of a 1998 peace deal that ended decades of sectarian and political violence.

Northern Ireland has been without devolved government since the pro-British DUP walked out in protest over the post-Brexit trade rules, which it said created barriers with the rest of the United Kingdom and undermined Northern Ireland's place in it.


The government shut-down in recent weeks has triggered mass strikes by public sector workers seeking delayed pay increases.

"Following the passage of very important legislation ... I have this afternoon written to the Speaker of the Assembly to indicate that there now exists a basis upon which the Northern Ireland Assembly can meet ... and fill the offices of First and Deputy First Ministers and Executive Ministers," Party leader Jeffrey Donaldson said in a statement.

In a historic first, Irish nationalists Sinn Fein are set to take the First Minister role after securing the most seats in the region's 2022 election.


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