The lower chamber of the UK parliament has rejected two amendments proposed by the House of Lords, the country's upper chamber, to launch Brexit. The Prime Minister can now trigger exit neogtiations from the EU any time.
Lawmakers on Monday debated and then rejected two amendments put forward earlier by the House of Lords which had been intended to thrash out the final wording of the bill designed to give British Prime Minister Theresa May the power to start the EU exit process.
The rejected amendments would have included a guarantee of the rights of European Union nationals living in the UK and would have given lawmakers morepowers to reject the final terms of negotiations with the EU.
Brexit minister David Davis had earlier pleaded lawmakers to throw out both of the suggested changes to the bill made by the upper house, arguing that the government needed to assert its freedom to operate without restriction. Davis said that, without the Lords' interference, Britain would get a better deal.
The two amendments proposed by the House of Lords are the main hurdles before Prime Minister Theresa May can launch official Brexit negotiations
May could now be ready to start a two-year Brexit negotiation period as early March 14, though her spokesman hinted that she might do it closer to the end of March. Before that, the bill will, however, first have to be sent to the Queen for her symbolic assent.
The decisions from the House of Commons came as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon came out publicly demanding a new Scottish independence referendum to be held in late 2018 or early 2019. Scotland remains opposed to Brexit, with a majority of Scots having voted against the motion last June.
The Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party in Northern Ireland announced that it also sought a plebiscite on the issue of independence from the UK.
ss/rc (Reuters, dpa)