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    A journalist poses with a copy of the Brexit Article 50 bill, introduced by the government to seek parliamentary approval to start the process of leaving the European Union, in front of the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, January 26, 2017.

    UK House of Lords Set for Further Clash With Downing Street Over Brexit Bill

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    The British parliament's upper chamber - the unelected House of Lords - is set to further hamper the UK Government's Brexit strategy. March 7, by voting for an amendment to the Article 50 bill - the formal notice to quit the European Union allowing parliament the final say on its terms.

    The Lords have already scuppered the UK Government's plans for Brexit, by adding an amendment to the bill currently going through parliament, demanding the government give an undertaking — within three months of triggering Brexit — to protect the rights of EU workers in the UK. 

    The government had wanted the bill to go through parliament in its simple form, without any amendment, as it wanted to include all options in the negotiations with Brussels over Britain's new relationship with the EU post-Brexit. However, the Lords have insisted on key changes to the bill.

    ​"Within three months of exercising the power under section 1(1), Ministers of the Crown must bring forward proposals to ensure that citizens of another European Union or European Economic Area country and their family members, who are legally resident in the United Kingdom on the day on which this Act is passed, continue to be treated in the same way with regards to their EU derived-rights and, in the case of residency, their potential to acquire such rights in the future," the Lords' amendment reads.

    ​The Latest amendment likely to be voted through March 7, is for parliament to have the final say over the terms of Britain's relationship with the EU post-Brexit — which means that — theoretically — if the House of Commons and the House of Lords do not believe the deal finally negotiated is good for Britain, it can reject it. 

    Britain would then fall out of the EU, with no agreement in place or — there having been no deal made — potentially never actually complete Brexit and remain in the EU.

    Mandate

    The leader of the Liberal Democrats — whose peers tabled the amendment — Tim Farron, defended their right to do so — effectively giving parliament a veto on a matter that was decided at a national referendum.

    The Lords voted against a second referendum, but are still expected to give parliament a vote on the final decision.

    ​"The reality is that the referendum last June gave a narrow majority for 'Leave' and so the government has a mandate to negotiate Brexit. The problem is, there is going to be a deal at the end of all of this — irrespective what was on the ballot paper [in the referendum]. A deal will be decided for our new relationship with Europe, going forward for the next — say — 50 years and it will either be signed off by the politicians or the people. What started with democracy last June must not end with a stitch-up and the Liberal Democrats think that people should have the final say," he told the BBC Today program.

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    Tags:
    Article 50, post-Brexit, Brexit, referendum, parliament, House of Commons, House of Lords, European Commission, European Parliament, European Council, European Union, Tim Farron, Theresa May, Britain, Europe, United Kingdom
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