Major Brexit battle for May
British PM faces competing demands by MPs to change her strategy
London: British Prime Minister Theresa May begins a major parliamentary battle over Brexit, facing competing demands by MPs to change her strategy as tensions rise among her scandal-hit ministers.
MPs will have their first chance to scrutinise the EU Withdrawal Bill, which would formally end Britain’s membership of the European Union and transfer four decades of EU legislation into UK law.
The government faces potential defeat on key amendments to the Bill if rebel Conservative MPs ally with the main opposition Labour Party, increasing the risks for May’s perilously weak minority government.
The government said it would ensure legal certainty when Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.
But critics warn the EU Withdrawal Bill – also known as the Repeal Bill – represents a powergrab by ministers, while others see the legislation as a chance to shape May’s Brexit policy.
Lawmakers – including members of May’s own Conservative party – have tabled 188 pages of amendments to the Bill, which will be debated in groups over eight days spread over the coming weeks. The showdown comes as the prime minister, weakened by a June election in which she lost her parliamentary majority, struggles to assert her authority even over her own Cabinet.
The premier is also under increasing pressure from Brussels to come up with a financial offer to keep negotiations on track, with a crunch summit of EU leaders looming in mid-December.