MAY BATTLES PARLIAMENT
Brexit Bill Passes First Hurdle
British Prime Minister Theresa May won a key vote on Brexit legislation early Tuesday, but she faces tough battles ahead in getting Parliament to support her vision for how the U.K. should exit the European Union after more than four decades. Lawmakers voted 326-290 in favor of a bill designed to transpose more than 10,000 EU laws on to the U.K. statute book. The bill would come into effect on March 29, 2019, the day the U.K. is scheduled to leave the bloc and aims to prevent a legal vacuum once Britain leaves the EU.
Ministers sought to reassure Members of Parliament by considering calls for safeguards over their use of new powers. May welcomed the Commons vote, saying the bill offered “certainty and clarity” – but Labour described it as an “affront to parliamentary democracy.” Having cleared the second reading stage, the bill will now face more attempts to change it with Conservative MPs believed to have tabled new amendments.
The bill’s difficult journey through the early stages of parliamentary scrutiny – normally a formality – signal further hurdles along the line for May, who lost her party’s majority in an election gamble earlier this summer. While negotiations with the EU over Britain’s departure have reached an impasse over issues such as how much the U.K. owes the bloc as part of its divorce, a bigger issue for May could be getting a divided Parliament and country behind her negotiating aims.
Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said the Bill was a “naked power grab” by the government, adding “this is a deeply disappointing result.” He said, “Labour will seek to amend and remove the worst aspects from the Bill but the flaws are so fundamental it’s hard to see how this Bill could ever be made fit for purpose.” Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said MPs who backed the Bill should feel “ashamed.” “This is a dark day for the mother of parliaments,” he added. Summing up the debate, Justice Secretary David Lidington said some of criticism had been “exaggerated up to and beyond the point of hyperbole.” He said the bill “enable us to have a coherent and functioning statue book” on the day the UK leaves the EU.
Keep those stops tight
Todd “Bubba” Horwitz
IN ASSOCIATION WITH