Westminster approved the latest Brexit bill, but rejected five amendments. They included provisions to reunite child refugees with families already in the UK, and guaranteed residence for millions of EU citizens.
Members of Parliament gave their final backing to the Brexit bill after removing several amendments made by the House of Lords, including a provision to reunite unaccompanied refugee children whose families are already living in the UK.
The House of Commons effectively stripped the Withdrawal Agreement Bill — which dictates the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU — of five amendments.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said the reunification of refugee children in EU member states with family members already in the UK was “ultimately a matter which must be negotiated with the EU, and the government is committed to seeking the best possible outcome in those negotiations.”
Another amendment included registering the 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK, which would have provided documents to ensure continuity of their residence in the country. However, that amendment was removed from the bill.
Germany Foreign Minister Heiko Maas shared his hope of Westiminster lawmakers would vote to proceed with an orderly Brexit, he also confirmed his readiness for a short extension of Brexit for the lawmakers to proceed with the legislation.
“I hope that the British lower house, showing the necessary responsibility, can take a decision on this today and that on the basis of this decision we will be in a position to achieve an orderly Brexit,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
“Should there be problems in Britain with the ratification, I would not rule out that there could be a short, technical extension,” the top diplomat added.
“Should there not be a majority in the British lower house, then we in the European Union would have to look at whether there would then be a full extension – and only then would there be a decision about that. At the moment, I don’t think it is sensible or appropriate to speculate about that.”
Prime Minister Theresa May has announced she will resign as Conservative Party leader on 7 June, under mounting pressure to quit facing a backlash from her own MPs against her Brexit plan. Until present the Westminster has rejected May‘s government withdrawal agreement or otherwise called “Brexit deal” three times.
Former British minister Owen Paterson informed he had submitted a letter of no confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May in the hope of triggering a leadership challenge.
“I write to inform you that I no longer have confidence in the Prime Minister,” Member of Parliament declared in a letter to the senior lawmaker who would oversee any leadership challenge.
“It would be a travesty if the democratic verdict of the 2016 referendum – the largest in British history – were not delivered, yet the Prime Minister’s proposed ‘deal’ is so bad that it cannot be considered anything other than a betrayal of clear manifesto promises.”
The letter was published in the Telegraph newspaper, and on MP Owen Twitter micro blog.
Next week’s Westminster vote on British Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal will go ahead, interior minister Sajid Javid said, rejecting media speculation that the government might not proceed with the vote in fear of losing it.
“I don’t think there is any chance of pulling the vote. I just don’t see that happening,” Javid told BBC. “This vote is taking place, as planned, and many MPs (lawmakers) are considering how they may or may not vote.”
Opposition parties, the small Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) that supports May’s government as well as many Members of the Parliament in her own Conservative Party have said they would vote against the deal on December 11.
Javid also said details of Britain’s post-Brexit immigration system would not be published before the vote but he said it would bring net migration down to a sustainable level.
The Labour Party said it would press for contempt proceedings against the government if Prime Minister fails to produce the full legal advice she has received on her Brexit deal.
Labour has said it will vote against the deal, Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, increased the pressure on May by saying Labour would start contempt proceedings against the government if it did not publish its legal advice.
“The parliamentary approval process for Brexit is going to be complex and possibly lengthy, a new report by academic think tank The UK in a Changing Europe and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law finds.The Brexit Endgame comes out on the day marking six months to Brexit. It leaves the politics to one side and looks at the Brexit process as it will play out in the UK Parliament and the EU” says the report of Researchers from The UK in a Changing Europe and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.
“It is almost certain the deal will not be ratified until 2019. As Article 50 can be extended, the real deadline is 18 April, when the European Parliament breaks up for elections.
- Parliamentarians do not face a simple deal/no deal choice, the report finds.
- Parliament will vote on the Withdrawal Agreement and the future relationship as one package. It will be presented to Parliament (as a motion) after it has been agreed with the EU
- MPs can make procedural amendments to the motion. Substantive amendments would amount to a rejection.
- If MPs reject the deal, the government can resubmit an amended version for approval.
- Once the Brexit motion is passed, Parliament then has to approve a bill turning the Withdrawal Agreement into UK law, giving MPs a second opportunity to reject the deal. Without this bill, the deal will not come into force in the UK or EU.
- If a deal can’t be reached or it can’t get through Parliament, there are three ways to trigger a general election:
- if a two-thirds majority of MPs support one;
- if the government loses a confidence motion and can’t regain the support of the Commons within two weeks;
- by overturning the FTPA.
- Once a deal is reached, the European Commission will recommend it to the European Council which will then pass it to the European Parliament
- The European Parliament will wait for the UK Parliament to pass the deal
- If this happens, the deal will go to the EP’s Constitutional Affairs Committee before being voted on by a plenary session of MEPs
- A simple majority of those present on the day is needed for it to pass
- Once that happens, the European Council will then vote. The deal will need the support of at least 20 member states representing at least two-thirds of the EU population.
Researchers from The UK in a Changing Europe and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law wrote two versions of the report – A detailed guide to the parliamentary process of withdrawal from the EU and a short guide.
Anand Menon, Director of the UK in a Changing Europe, said: “Given that most attention has been focussed on Brussels, we have tended to overlook the complex processes that await any Brexit deal that is agreed. “These reports lay out in painstaking and meticulous detail what those processes consist of, and provide a salutary warning that, even should a deal be struck with the EU, the Brexit process will still have a long way to run.”
More than 100 Westminster constituencies that voted to leave the EU have now switched their support to Remain, writes The Guardian newspaper, quoting new analysis seen by the Observer.
In findings that could have a significant impact on the parliamentary battle of Brexit later this year, the study concludes that most seats in Britain now contain a majority of voters who want to stay in the EU, the newspaper continues.
The analysis, one of the most comprehensive assessments of Brexit sentiment since the referendum, suggests the shift has been driven by doubts among Labour voters who backed Leave.
As a result, the trend is starkest in the north of England and Wales – Labour heartlands in which Brexit sentiment appears to be changing. The development will heap further pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to soften the party’s opposition to reconsidering Britain’s EU departure, the Guardian concludes.