Brexit Bill Set to Clear Parliamentary Hurdle

Brexit Bill Set to Clear Parliamentary HurdleBrexit Bill Set to Clear Parliamentary Hurdle

British MPs look set to approve a bill on Wednesday empowering Prime Minister Theresa May to start Brexit negotiations, in a major step toward Britain leaving the European Union.

Seven months after the historic referendum vote to leave the 28-nation bloc, the House of Commons is expected to authorize May to trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, AFP reported.

The bill would still need to pass through the House of Lords, where there may be more opposition from unelected peers less concerned about defying the majority of voters who backed Brexit in the June vote.

But if, as expected, the bill passes its Commons stage in a vote late Wednesday, May will be significantly closer to her goal of starting the two-year exit talks by the end of March.

Under pressure from MPs, the government was forced to concede on Tuesday that parliament would have a vote on the final Brexit deal before it is sent to the European Parliament for approval.

The move helped fend off a rebellion by pro-European members of May's Conservative party, who had threatened to back an opposition amendment to the two-clause bill.

But ministers stressed that if lawmakers rejected the final deal, the alternative was not to return to negotiations but to leave the EU without an agreement.

"This will be a meaningful vote. It will be a choice between leaving the European Union with a negotiated deal or not," Brexit Minister David Jones said.

More than two-thirds of MPs campaigned against Brexit in the deeply divisive runup to the June referendum, but after 52% of Britons voted to leave the EU, most have reluctantly accepted that they must uphold the result.

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