Ma­jor Brexit bat­tle for May

Bri­tish PM faces com­pet­ing de­mands by MPs to change her strat­egy

The Star Malaysia - - World -

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.

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