Brexit bill passes second reading by 326 to 290

Brexit bill passes second reading by 326 to 290

Brexit bill passes second reading by 326 to 290

Conservative MPs have warned Theresa May that their support for her government's Brexit legislation is not unconditional, as they demanded significant changes to the European Union withdrawal bill within minutes of backing it.

Frank Field and Caroline Flint broke ranks in the House of Commons to say it was wrong to block the process of the European Union withdrawal bill - which aims to convert all existing European Union laws into domestic laws in time for Brexit. It is controversial because it hands sweeping powers to ministers to change legislation as they see fit, without full scrutiny in Parliament.

Mr Woodcock continued: "It's disappointing and worrying that they're now intent on railroading it through but after last night's second reading vote I will be focusing on improving the detail of the bill to try to force a return to common sense on issues like preserving nuclear jobs through membership of Euratom".

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Prime Minister Theresa May called the result "a historic decision to back the will of the British people and vote for a bill which gives certainty and clarity".

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Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer, however, described it as an "affront to parliamentary democracy".

It came just hours after the Commons passed the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, a crucial piece of legislation that severs ties with the bloc by ending the supremacy of EU law in Britain.

Previously referred to as the Great Repeal Bill, the EU Withdrawal Bill overturns the 1972 European Communities Act which took the United Kingdom into the then European Economic Community.

But Sir Keir is also suggesting the bill may be already beyond fix - arguing the Prime Minister should have dropped it and started again, rather than burdening Parliament with the task of mangling the current form into something more acceptable to those who opposed its second reading.

The scene is now set for a series of close votes when the legislation reaches its committee stage in the autumn. The government has said those powers will not be used for any significant changes but rather for technical amendments and only for a limited time.

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The government is expected to win the vote, but it is the most serious test yet of Prime Minister Theresa May's leadership after she lost her parliamentary majority at a June 8 election and failed to win a clear mandate for her Brexit strategy.

Jeremy Corbyn has called on all Labour MPs to follow him in voting down a flagship Brexit bill, despite government ministers warning defeat would cause chaos and confusion.

Brexit Secretary David Davis says "a vote against this bill is a vote for a chaotic exit from the European Union". If the government compromises on the Henry VIII powers, the most risky amendments concern the nature of a post-Brexit transitional arrangement.

"Labour will seek to amend and remove the worst aspects from the Bill as it passes through Parliament".

That means lawmakers approve the bill in principle, but the government will now face attempts to amend it before a final vote later this year.

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