Brexit: UK seeks defence partnership with EU

Cornelia Mascio
Settembre 13, 2017

Britain's parliament backed a second reading of legislation to sever ties with the European Union early yesterday, a reprieve for Prime Minister Theresa May who now faces demands by lawmakers for concessions before it becomes law.

It will repeal the 1972 act taking Britain into the European Economic Community and convert EU law into United Kingdom law.

The bill seeks largely to copy and paste European Union law into British legislation to ensure Britain has functioning laws and the same regulatory framework as the bloc at the moment of Brexit, something the government says provides certainty for companies.

Having lost her majority in the House of Commons in June's election, Mrs May is vulnerable to rebellions from her own side and relies on the votes of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.

"In recent years, the European Union has helped achieve crucial foreign policy goals - from bringing Iran to the negotiating table, to uniting in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine", Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said.

"The challenge now is for MPs across the chamber to unite behind a common objective in ensuring that this United Kingdom government is prevented from railroading further Brexit legislation through that risks the very foundations of devolution", the SNP's worldwide affairs spokesman, Stephen Gethins, said.

Brexit news Keir Starmer
GETTY Keir Starmer has described the bill as'flawed

His party had largely made a decision to vote against the bill but seven of Labour's MPs defied party leader Jeremy Corbyn to back the government on the bill, saying it supports the will of the British people who voted for Brexit in the June 2016 referendum. The Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party also said they'd seek changes.

Both the opposition and several Conservative party members referred to the Henry VIII powers as tantamount to a "power group" which they pledged to contest.

Pro-EU Conservative lawmaker Ken Clarke told Sky News he expected the government to have to change the wording of the bill to win over parliament.

Labour's Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds said: "Labour tried to amend the government's EU Withdrawal Bill to allow much more scrutiny and debate about its proposals, but this amendment did not pass".

A major Brexit bill just passed its first big test - but not without criticism.

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