Tuesday, February 25, 2020 | ePaper

Brexit Bill clears Britain parliament, set to become law

  • Print


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during Prime Minister Questions at the House of Commons in London.



After years of acrimonious debate, British lawmakers on Wednesday finally approved the terms of their country's historic departure from the European Union-due in just nine days time.
MPs in the lower House of Commons had already backed the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which ratifies the divorce deal that Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck with Brussels last year.
But the unelected upper House of Lords made some changes this week, including on the rights of EU citizens and child refugees after Brexit.
In a series of votes on Wednesday, the Commons-where Johnson's Conservatives have a large majority-rejected all five amendments and sent the bill back to the Lords, who then reluctantly agreed to back down.
The only hurdle left to formal ratification now is royal assent by Queen Elizabeth II, which could come as soon as Thursday, paving the way for Britain to leave the EU on January 31.
People in London's Parliament Square share their thoughts after Brexit supporters began a crowfunding campaign to pay for London's Big Ben to bong at 23:00 on January 31 when Brexit formally enters into force, a cost estimated at £500,000.
The European Parliament still has to back the deal in a vote next week but its approval in London is a historic moment, as Britain edges closer to becoming the first country to leave the 28-member EU.
It is a huge personal achievement for Johnson, who took office last year promising to end several years of political wrangling that had divided the country and paralysed successive governments.
His predecessor, Theresa May, negotiated a Brexit deal with Brussels in 2018 but the Commons rejected it three times, forcing her to resign.
Johnson agreed changes to the text with Brussels, only to be defeated again by MPs unable to agree on the timetable for turning the deal into law.
Johnson accused lawmakers of trying to frustrate the result of the landmark 2016 referendum vote for Brexit and forced a snap election last month.
The result, with Johnson returned to office on a thumping majority, fundamentally upended the dynamic and MPs swiftly backed the deal. One amendment sought to alter the government's scheme to register around 3.6 million EU citizens living in Britain, to give them physical documents proving their right to stay.
Another change would have required the government to negotiate the right of unaccompanied child refugees in the EU to join relatives in Britain.
Downing Street said it was time to finish the long-running process, which has divided the nation.
"The British people have waited for more than three years to get Brexit done. Passing the WAB allows us to do this in an orderly way on January 31," Johnson's spokesman said.

More News For this Category

Indian authorities scramble to give Trump a mega-rally

Indian authorities scramble to give Trump a mega-rally

AP, Ahmedabad : The sun-baked city of Ahmedabad was jostling with activity Sunday as workers cleaned roads, planted flowers and hoisted hundreds of billboards featuring President Donald Trump, a day ahead

Pope appears to give thumbs down to Trump's Mideast peace plan

Pope appears to give thumbs down to Trump's Mideast peace plan

Reuters, Bari, Italy  :Pope Francis on Sunday warned against "inequitable solutions" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to

Vietnamese dissident monk who was a Nobel Prize nominee dies at 93

Vietnamese dissident monk who was a Nobel Prize nominee dies at 93

AFP :Thich Quang Do, a dissident Buddhist monk who has effectively been under house arrest since 2003 and was nominated multiple times for the Nobel Peace Prize, has died aged

UN chief urges new transit point for aid to Syria

UN chief urges new transit point for aid to Syria

AFP, United Nations :UN Secretary- General Antonio Guterres has urged the Security Council to authorize a new passage point on the Turkish border to allow humanitarian aid to reach the

Trump congratulates Democrat Bernie Sanders for Nevada caucuses win

Trump congratulates Democrat Bernie Sanders for Nevada caucuses win

AFP, Las Vegas :Progressive firebrand Bernie Sanders claimed a decisive victory Saturday in the Nevada caucuses, solidifying his front-runner status in the race to choose the Democratic nominee who faces

News In Brief

Slovak PM Pellegrini cancels schedule due to illnessReuters, PragueSlovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini cancelled his agenda because of sudden illness, his office said on Sunday, just one week ahead of

Sanders condemns Russian interference in 2020 elections

Sanders condemns Russian interference in 2020 elections

Agencies :Bernie Sanders on Friday condemned Russian interference in the 2020 election, telling Russia President Vladimir Putin that "if elected president, trust me, you are not going to be interfering

China's President  expresses  thanks to Bill Gates help for tackling virus epidemic

China's President expresses thanks to Bill Gates help for tackling virus epidemic

AFP, Beijing :Chinese President Xi Jinping has written a letter expressing thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the organisation's "generosity" and support tackling a deadly virus epidemic,

South Sudan set to swear in former rebel leader as first vice president

South Sudan set to swear in former rebel leader as first vice president

Reuters, Juba :South Sudan's President Salva Kiir is due to swear in former rebel leader Riek Machar as his first vice president on Saturday after the two men agreed to

Partial truce begins in Afghanistan, boosting peace hopes

Partial truce begins in Afghanistan, boosting peace hopes

AFP, Kabul :Afghans woke up to a week-long partial truce Saturday after the Taliban, the US and local forces all agreed to a lull that could be a major turning