May Skirts Rebellion as Lower House Rejects Brexit Bill Changes

  • Now it’s up to the Lords to decide whether to accept or reject
  • Rejection by upper house could prolong back and forth of bill

Prime Minister Theresa May avoided a rebellion within her own ruling party as the lower house of Parliament voted to reject amendments to her Brexit-trigger bill proposed by the House of Lords.

Lawmakers in the House of Commons overturned two amendments by the unelected peers, sending the bill back to the Lords unchanged. The first amendment, asking for guarantees for European Union citizens, was rejected by 335 votes to 287.

The second, asking for lawmakers to be given a binding say on the ultimate outcome of talks, was defeated 331 to 286. The upper house will now consider the bill again, and is expected to approve it.

The draft law will then be signed by the Queen, paving the way for May to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which two officials indicated will happen in the last week of March.

“The vast majority of the people want the prime minister to get on with the job in hand with the minimum number of strings attached,” Brexit secretary David Davis told Parliament on Monday, as he urged the house to vote against any changes. “The reality is that there are some who would use this to try to overturn the result of the referendum.”

— With assistance by Thomas Penny

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