UK Parliament Approves Brexit Bill
Paving the way for EU exit to begin
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 13, 2017 6:58 PM CDT
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Britain's Brexit Secretary David Davis speaks in the House of Commons, London, Monday, March 13, 2017. Britain’s top official for leaving the European Union says lawmakers should pass an EU exit bill “without further delay” so the government can start formal divorce talks with the bloc. Brexit Secretary...   (PA)
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(Newser) – Britain lurched closer to leaving the European Union Monday when Parliament stopped resisting and gave Prime Minister Theresa May the power to file for divorce from the bloc, the AP reports. The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill passed its final hurdle in Parliament's upper chamber, the House of Lords, Monday. The House of Commons approved the bill weeks ago, but the 800-strong Lords fought to amend it, inserting a promise that EU citizens living in the U.K. will be allowed to remain after Britain pulls out of the bloc. They also added a demand that Parliament get a "meaningful" vote on the final deal between Britain and the remaining 27 EU nations.

Both amendments were rejected Monday by the Commons, where May's Conservatives have a majority. A handful of pro-EU Conservatives expressed their unhappiness, then abstained from the vote. The bill returned to the Lords, in a process known as parliamentary ping pong. Faced with the decision of the elected Commons, the Lords backed down and approved it without amendments. Once the bill receives royal assent—a formality that should be accomplished within hours—May will be free to invoke Article 50 of the EU's key treaty, triggering two years of exit negotiations, by her self-imposed deadline of March 31. (But in a blow to May's government, the prospect of Scotland's exit from the United Kingdom suddenly appeared nearer, too.)

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