Saturday 16 December 2017

Green light for May to begin Brexit divorce talks after dramatic day in Parliament

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Richard Wheeler, Kate Ferguson and Jack Maidment

Prime Minister Theresa May has won Parliament's approval to begin talks on a divorce deal for the UK leaving the EU.

After weeks of bitter wrangling in both Houses, the Government comfortably fought off two Liberal Democrat bids to again amend the Brexit Bill in the Lords.

In a day of drama, the Commons voted to reject two changes made by peers to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, which gives the Prime Minister the power to trigger the two-year Brexit talks.

MPs voted against a proposal to unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in the UK within three months, by 335 votes to 287, majority 48.

They then voted against an amendment designed to give Parliament a "meaningful" vote on the final deal, by 331 votes to 286, majority 45.

Later in the Lords, with Brexit Secretary David Davis watching from the bar of the House, a Liberal Democrat move to reinsert the amendment on the rights of EU nationals living in the UK was rejected by 274 votes to 135, Government majority 139.

Peers then voted 274 to 118, Government majority 156, against a move to insist on a "meaningful" vote on the final deal.

More to follow...

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