Sunday 17 December 2017

May's timetable to trigger Article 50 intact as her 'hard' Brexit bill gets through Commons unscathed

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Andrew Hammond

A majority in the British House of Commons approved - unamended - on Wednesday the Article 50 legislation proposed by the government, which is needed to trigger the UK's formal exit talks with the EU. The chamber has, in effect, endorsed Prime Minister Theresa May's vision of a 'hard' Brexit and Article 50 will likely now be triggered next month, possibly at the EU Summit on March 9, aligning with Mrs May's previously touted schedule.

The legislation now passes to the House of Lords where many have already flagged concerns about Brexit. It is possible that this upper chamber could seek to revise the legislation, but it seems unlikely that it will block the bill. Indeed, to do so now could prompt a potential UK constitutional crisis.

Three of the most notable amendments defeated by the government in the Commons included a last ditch attempt to try to keep the UK in the European single market; efforts to secure a second public referendum; and the nature of the ratification that parliament will have on any exit deal reached with EU.

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