Thu | Nov 15, 2018

UK's plans for EU exit runs into more snags in Parliament

Published:Wednesday | March 8, 2017 | 12:00 AM
British Prime Minister Theresa May


The British government encountered more opposition yesterday to its plans for leaving the European Union (EU) in Parliament's unelected House of Lords.

By a 366-268 vote, the Lords passed an amendment to the government's Brexit bill requiring Parliament not just the government to approve Britain's exit deal with the EU.

The chamber inserted another change last week, promising that EU citizens living in Britain can stay after the UK leaves the bloc.

The changes may be temporary. Now that the Lords have passed the bill, it will go back to the elected House of Commons, where lawmakers could overturn the amendments next week.

Prime Minister Theresa May's governing Conservatives have a majority in the House of Commons, but not in the Lords.




May has promised that Parliament will get a vote on Britain's EU exit terms but only on a "take it or leave it" basis. If lawmakers reject the agreement, she obtains, the UK could stumble out of the EU without any deal in place. That is not good enough for many pro-European legislators.

May wants to invoke Article 50 of the EU's key treaty, triggering exit negotiations by March 31. She cannot do that until Parliament passes legislation sanctioning the move, and pro-EU lawmakers have been determined to put obstacles in the government's path.

Back-and-forth between the Commons and the Lords a process known as "parliamentary ping pong" could delay passage of the legislation and potentially threaten May's timetable for starting EU exit talks.