Brexit Bill Set for Fi­nal Vote in House of Com­mons

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

Lon­don: MPs look set to ap­prove a bill on Wed­nes­day em­pow­er­ing Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May to start Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions, in a ma­jor step to­wards Bri­tain leav­ing the EU. Seven months af­ter the his­toric ref­er­en­dum vote to leave the 28-na­tion bloc, the House of Com­mons is ex­pected to grant its ap­proval for May to trig­ger Ar­ti­cle 50 of the EU’s Lis­bon Treaty.

The bill would still need to pass through the House of Lords, where there may be more op­po­si­tion from un­elected peers less con­cerned about de­fy­ing the ma­jor­ity of vot­ers who backed Brexit in the June vote.

But if, as ex­pected, the bill passes its Com­mons stage in a vote late Wed­nes­day,May­willbe­sig­nif­i­cantly closer to her goal of start­ing the twoyear exit talks by the end of March.

Un­der pres­sure from MPs, the gov­ern­ment was forced to con­cede on Tues­day that par­lia­ment would have a vote on the fi­nal Brexit deal be­fore it is sent to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment for ap­proval.

The move helped fend off a re­bel­lion by pro-Euro­pean mem­bers of May’s Con­ser­va­tive party, who had threat­ened to back an op­po­si­tion amend­ment to the two-clause bill.

But min­is­ters stressed that if law­mak­ers re­jected the fi­nal deal, the al­ter­na­tive was not to re­turn to ne­go­ti­a­tions but to leave the EU with­out an agree­ment.

“This will be a mean­ing­ful vote. It will be a choice be­tween leav­ing the Euro­pean Union with a ne­go­ti­ated deal or not,” Brexit min­is­ter David Jones said. More than two-thirds of MPs cam­paigned against Brexit in the deeply di­vi­sive runup to the June ref­er­en­dum, but af­ter 52% of Bri­tons voted to leave the EU, most have re­luc­tantly ac­cepted that they must up­hold the re­sult.

Theresa May

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