The Latest: UK Parliament passes Brexit authorization bill

AP News
Posted: Mar 13, 2017 6:15 PM
The Latest: UK Parliament passes Brexit authorization bill

LONDON (AP) — The Latest developments on Britain's decision to leave the European Union: (all times local):

10:10 p.m.

Britain's has moved closer to leaving the European Union, with Parliament giving Prime Minister Theresa May the power to file for divorce from the bloc.

A bill authorizing May to start EU exit talks has passed its final vote in Parliament's upper chamber, the House of Lords.

The House of Commons had approved the bill weeks ago, but the Lords fought to amend the legislation, inserting a promise that EU citizens living in the U.K. will be allowed to remain.

They also added demand that Parliament get a "meaningful" vote on Britain's final Brexit deal.

Both amendments were rejected Monday by the Commons, and the unelected Lords then backed down and approved the bill.

May is now free to invoke Article 50 of the EU's key treaty, triggering two years of exit negotiations, by her self-imposed deadline of March 31.


6:55 p.m.

Britain's House of Commons has rejected an attempt to make the government promise — before European Union exit talks start — that it will guarantee the right to remain of EU citizens living in the U.K.

By a vote of 335 to 287, lawmakers overturned an amendment to the government's Brexit bill inserted by the unelected House of Lords.

They also rejected, by 331 to 286, a call to promise that Parliament will get a "meaningful" vote on the final deal between Britain and the other 27 nations of the bloc.

The Lords now have to decide whether to accept the Commons vote or resist, delaying the bill's passage. If they back down, the bill could be approved by late Monday.

That would leave Prime Minister Theresa May free to launch divorce proceedings with the EU by March 31 as planned.


5:05 p.m.

Britain's top official for leaving the European Union says lawmakers should pass an EU exit bill "without further delay" so the government can start formal divorce talks with the bloc.

Brexit Secretary David Davis urged Parliament to pass a bill authorizing exit talks without amendments on Monday, "so the prime minister can get to work on the negotiations."

Prime Minister Theresa May says she will invoke Article 50 of the EU's key treaty, the trigger for two years of exit negotiations, by March 31.

But she can't do it until Parliament approves. The House of Commons and House of Lords are battling over the bill's contents, with the Lords wanting it to include a promise that Parliament will get to vote on the final deal between Britain and the 27-nation bloc.


12:50 p.m.

The British government says it will take Scotland's interests into account as it negotiates a new relationship with the European Union.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced she will seek a referendum on independence from the U.K. because Scotland is being forced out of the bloc's single market against its will. She accuses Prime Minister Theresa May's British government of refusing to compromise.

May's government says in response that it is seeking "a future partnership with the EU that works for the whole of the United Kingdom. The U.K. Government will negotiate that agreement, but we will do so taking into account the interests of all of the nations of the U.K."

The British government has to give its approval for a legally binding referendum. It didn't say whether it would do so, but said an independence ballot "would be divisive and cause huge economic uncertainty at the worst possible time."


12:45 p.m.

Demonstrators are gathering outside the British Parliament in advance of a vital debate on Britain's planned exit from the European Union.

The group is opposed to Prime Minister Theresa May's plans to take Britain out of the EU by triggering Article 50 in the coming days.

One protester wore an oversize May puppet head. The group wants Parliament to have a "meaningful" vote on Brexit terms

The House of Commons is set to debate Brexit Monday afternoon and evening.

It is expected Parliament will eventually give May legal authority to start Brexit proceedings. Britons voted in a June 23 referendum to leave the EU.


11:45 a.m.

Scotland's leader has said she will seek authority for a new independence referendum.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Monday she will move quickly to give Scottish voters a chance to make Scotland an independent country.

Sturgeon said British Prime Minister Theresa May has so far refused to compromise with Scotland over Brexit.

She said it is important for Scotland to take active steps to protect its interests as Britain prepared to trigger its departure from the European Union.

Scottish voters rejected independence in a 2014 referendum, but Sturgeon said that the U.K.'s decision to leave the EU had brought about a "material change or circumstances."