Brexit bill passes hurdle at European Parliament

Elias Hubbard
January 24, 2020

The draft legislation, which is needed to ensure the UK's departure from the bloc is an orderly one, was then sent to the Queen to be given Royal Assent.

The Lords voted Tuesday to demand that post-Brexit Britain continues to let unaccompanied migrant children in European Union countries join relatives living in the U.K. The promise was made in 2018 by former British Prime Minister Theresa May, but it was removed from the Brexit legislation after Johnson's Conservatives won a big parliamentary majority in an election last month.

"The British people have waited for more than three years to get Brexit done".

As for the bill, it now requires sign-off from the Queen, known as Royal Assent, before it becomes law, but that is a formality which happens automatically.

MPs had reversed five changes made to the legislation by the Lords during a "ping-pong" phase where the Bill moved between the two Houses until agreement is achieved.

But, lawmakers in the House of Commons - the elected body in British parliament - chose to reject the amendments and voted through the original bill.

Britain moved a step closer to its January 31 exit from the European Union when the legislation required to ratify its deal with Brussels passed its final stage in parliament on Wednesday.

Britain's delayed and disputed Brexit bill became law on Thursday, removing the last United Kingdom obstacle to the country leaving the European Union in just over a week.

Britain will then enter a transition period, scheduled to last until the end of the year, during which it will continue to be bound by European Union laws until it negotiates a new trade deal with the remaining 27 member states.

But deep divisions over Brexit remain.

Although a victory for the Tories, the SNP Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, expressed his anger at what he called the "constitutional crisis" involved in passing a Brexit bill without the legislative consent of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish devolved administrations. We are leaving on 31 January.

Belgian politician Charles Michel, who represents the 27 remaining states as president of the European Council, is expected to sign the document in the coming days as will European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Attention will now shift to a vote on the Brexit deal in the European Parliament next Wednesday.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a deal with Britain was "an absolute priority of President Trump and we expect to complete that within this year".

But British opposition politicians are already raising concerns about issues ranging from food-safety standards - especially the USA practice of chlorine-washing chicken to kill germs - to drug prices.

"I'm absolutely confident we can do that".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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