The House of Lords voted on Monday to approve an amendment which would reinstate a commitment by the UK to protect unaccompanied child refugees.
This is the fourth defeat for Boris Johnson in the House of Lords as sitting members voted to approve Lord Dubs' amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB).
Monday saw a series of defeats inflicted upon the government by the upper chamber, including the removal of ministers’ powers over European Court of Justice rulings, and wider protections for EU citizens living in the UK.
Labour peer Lord Dubs, who was responsible for the amendment, urged ministers not to use child refugees as “bargaining chips” as part of negotiations with the EU and that it was simply a matter of humanity to keep protections in place.
He argued that by providing an accessible safe route to the UK the government would be "thwarting the traffickers" and negate any reason for young refugees to turn to worse options.
“I think that defies all credibility. I don’t think there’s any basis that you can possibly support that thesis and I take the view that we have done very well on the question of child refugees. If it’s not broke, don’t mend it", said Conservative peer Lord Hamilton.
The revisions made to Boris Johnson's withdrawal agreement will now be sent back to the House of Commons to be voted on Wednesday before the bill can be passed.
Former prime minister Theresa May pledge to maintain protections for child refugees within the Brexit legislation, but these safeguards were not included in Boris Johnson's withdrawal agreement.