UK's May defeated as lawmakers demand power to reject final Brexit terms

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 07, 2017 1:45 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's upper house of parliament voted on Tuesday to give lawmakers more power to reject the final terms of the country's exit from European Union, ignoring pleas from Prime Minister Theresa May's government not to hamstring their negotiations.

The vote, which passed by 366 to 268, attaches an extra condition to the "European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill" -- legislation which will give May the power to trigger divorce talks. She plans to use that power later this month.

The amended bill now demands that Britain's parliament has to approve any exit deal before it is debated by the European Parliament, or, if talks fail, that lawmakers must vote to approve a decision to walk away without a deal.

The government has already promised parliament a vote on the final deal, but believes restricting May's ability to leave the negotiating table could encourage the EU to offer a bad deal in the hope that lawmakers would then reject it and potentially halt Brexit.

Ministers will try to overturn changes to the bill before they become law.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)