Tuesday

23rd May 2017

British MPs' vote could trigger Brexit talks

The UK parliament's lower house is to debate and vote on Monday (13 March) on whether to accept amendments to the Brexit bill, which were added by the upper and unelected House of Lords.

The vote on the EU withdrawal bill, which gives prime minister Theresa May the authority to implement the divorce from the European Union, would allow her to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty already on Tuesday.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The House of Lords tweaked the bill last week so that it would protect the rights of EU nationals already living in the UK and guarantee legislators a binding say on the final deal at the end of the exit talks.

May wants those changes overturned, and her Brexit minister David Davis argued on Sunday in an interview that MPs should not tie the prime minister's hands in the talks.

He also admitted that there might not be enough time at the end of the divorce discussions to hold a meaningful vote in parliament.

But he told BBC nevertheless: “It’s inconceivable to me that there wouldn’t be a vote on the outcome."

Davis also argued that the UK would be prepared, if it has to leave the EU with no deal in place.

Both houses would have to agree on the same text of the bill, in a process called parliamentary "ping pong", but it is unlikely that the House of Lords will put up a fight on Monday if the MPs reject their amendments.

Some Conservative MPs are withholding their support for the bill and want to see assurances from the government on allowing parliament to have the final vote over the exit deal, or if May would allow the MPs to have a say what happens if talks break down.

May has a narrow majority of 17 in the House of Commons, making her government vulnerable to Tory rebels siding with the opposition - Labour or Liberal Democrats.

Final countdown

If the two houses agree on the bill on Monday, May will be in a position to launch the Article 50 exit procedure the next day.

That would allow enough room to organise a special EU summit for 6 April, where EU leaders could approve negotiating guidelines for the European Commission and its Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

European Council president Donald Tusk said last week that the EU was ready to respond within 48 hours of getting the official letter of withdrawal from the British government.

UK parliament clears way for Brexit talks

UK MPs refuse to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK and do not expect a "meaningful vote" at the end of the Brexit talks, as May gets ready to trigger Article 50.

Tusk: No deal on Brexit would hit UK hardest

The European Council president warned the UK against getting cosying up to the idea of having no Brexit deal at the end of the divorce negotiations, as the EU gears up for receiving PM May's notification.

Scottish independence ignites Brexit debate

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon will start the process for an independence vote next week, while British prime minister Theresa May insists that Scotland will have to follow the UK out of the EU and the single market.

EU wants Brexit talks to start the day after UK vote

EU negotiator Michel Barnier urged negotiations to begin as soon as possible, while European Council chief Donald Tusk said the EU-27's red lines will be updated once talks can move on from the divorce to the future relationship.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Tories on manoeuvres, as Labour wakes from Brexit slumber

In Labour's programme for the June election, Jeremy Corbyn claims there will be no second EU referendum and promises a form of associate membership with the EU. For the moment, it’s as far as his party can go.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  2. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  4. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  5. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  7. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  8. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  9. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  10. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  11. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Cost of Speaking Out: Human Rights Violations Committed in Belarus