Thursday

29th Sep 2022

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

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.

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.

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.

Column

EU should admonish less, and listen more, to the Global South

Whether on Russia, or gas, or climate change, or food security, the EU's constant finger-wagging and moralising is becoming unbearably repetitive and self-defeating. Most countries in the Global South view it as eurocentric and neo-colonial.

News in Brief

  1. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  2. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  3. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  4. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  5. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  6. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap
  7. EU: Nord Stream explosions 'result of a deliberate act'
  8. EU okays €21bn Covid-recovery funding for Italy amid concern

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Russian ideologue and caviar on latest EU blacklist
  2. Netherlands tops EU social safety net for the poor
  3. New EU rules to make companies liable for their AI failures
  4. Can King Charles III reset the broken Brexit relationship?
  5. Meloni's navy-blockade plan to stop Libya migrants 'unlikely'
  6. Underwater explosions were detected near Nord Stream leaks
  7. EU countries stall new pesticide rules, blame Ukraine war
  8. The UN's Uyghur report must push EU into China sanctions

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us