Monday, February 19, 2018 | ePaper

UK to double length of next parliament to deal with Brexit

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Police detain a man outside the House of Commons, London on Friday. Scotland Yard said the man – aged in his 30s – was arrested on suspicion of possessing a knife. there were no injuries. .

AP, London :
The British government plans to have the next Parliament hold a two-year session to deal with the expected onslaught of Brexit-related legislation.
Parliament normally sits for one year, but officials said late Saturday night more time will be needed.
House of Common leader Andrea Leadsom said Parliament will need "the maximum amount of time to scrutinize these bills" by holding a two-year session.
The legislation is expected to include the Great Repeal Bill to convert existing European Union law into United Kingdom statutes.
Prime Minister Theresa May has been struggling to put together a working government since the Conservative Party lost its majority in the June 8 election. She is seeking an arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland.
Formal Brexit talks with the European Union begin Monday.
Meanwhile, Britain begins historic talks on leaving the European Union on Monday while still mourning the victims of a devastating fire and reeling from an election that has badly weakened the government.
Brexit minister David Davis will travel to Brussels to meet Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, to kick off hugely complex withdrawal negotiations that are expected to last less than two years.
Worried by immigration and loss of sovereignty, Britain last year voted to end its decades-old membership of the 28-country bloc-the first country ever to do so-in a shock referendum result.
The government has developed a strategy of "hard Brexit" to cut the numbers of immigrants arriving from the EU at the expense of Britain's membership of the European single market and customs union.
But that entire approach has come under question following a general election earlier this month in which Prime Minister Theresa May lost her Conservative party's parliamentary majority.
Ordinary Britons are also beginning to feel the cost of Brexit because of higher import prices caused by a plunge in the pound and businesses are increasingly worried about losing trade access.
May has clung on to power since the election but has so far failed to strike an agreement with Northern Ireland's ultra-conservative Democratic Unionist Party that would allow her to govern.
The Conservatives now only have 317 seats in the 650-seat House of Commons and need the support of the DUP's 10 MPs for a razor-thin majority.
The government is due to present its programme at the opening of parliament on Wednesday, which will be followed by a key confidence vote days later.
Adding to what Queen Elizabeth II called the "sombre national mood" have been three terrorist attacks in three months and a fire in a London tower block in which 58 people are presumed dead.

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