The House of Lords, the upper house of the British Parliament, has written an amendment to Boris Johnson's Brexit Act that includes the admission of Mingrant children. The Chamber of Parliament decided with 300 to 220 votes that Britain would leave unaccompanied migrant children Europe to let their parents enter if they live there. This rule was already in the Brexit law of Johnson's predecessor Theresa May, but Johnson had it deleted after his election victory in December.
Labor Lord Alf Dubs appealed to the government not to leverage children in negotiations on the future relationship between children Great Britain and the EU, which should start on January 31 after the Brexit. This would be a very negative signal, said Dubs, who had come to Britain as a minor refugee from Nazi-occupied Europe. Dubs accused Johnson and his government of weakening the right to family reunification. "I don't know if it is complete incompetence or malice," said Dubs before the vote.
Government does not see family reunification as a Brexit issue
The upper house had already changed the Brexit law in three points on Monday. Among other things, it decided that the UK should confirm in writing EU residents living in the country and curtailed the government's ability to ignore rulings by the European Court of Justice without consulting British courts.
However, the lower house can undo all changes if it votes on the law on Wednesday. Given Johnson's absolute majority, this is likely: Johnson's office had already announced that he would not accept any changes. Migrant children should therefore continue to be admitted, but this has nothing to do with the Brexit law. Lady Susan Williams said on behalf of the government that more than 41,000 children have found shelter in the UK since 2010. In doing so London mostly adhered to the international refugee convention and not EU guidelines.
Negotiations on future relationships begin in February
Both British Houses of Parliament must have approved the Brexit law by January 31. Until then, the EU Parliament would also have to approve the divorce agreement on the UK's exit from the EU. Both are a matter of form and the UK's exit at the end of the month is as good as decided. After that, Great Britain remains part of the EU internal market for a transition period that is limited until the end of 2020.
In order to give the EU and Great Britain time to clarify the future relationship and to conclude a trade contract, this transition period can be extended. Several EU representatives, including Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, had already announced that the negotiations would be difficult and could hardly be completed within eleven months.