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British Gov’t Wins First Votes to Amend Key Brexit Bill

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Local Editor

The British government survived the first parliamentary challenges to its Brexit bill Tuesday evening, as MPs started voting on various amendments tabled on the landmark legislation.

Brexit

In further details, Prime Minister Theresa May's minority government defeated an amendment backed by Welsh and Scottish lawmakers that would have given Britain's devolved legislatures a veto over any final withdrawal agreement.

It won the vote - the first of many expected in the coming days and weeks as lawmakers debate some of the hundreds of amendments put forward - by a comfortable majority.

MPs also voted to keep the opening clause of the law, repealing the 1972 European Communities Act that took Britain into the bloc.

But May's government, rocked by a string of scandals that forced out two ministers this month and divided by Brexit, faces potential defeats on other amendments ahead.

Earlier, lawmakers had their first chance to scrutinize the EU Withdrawal Bill, which would formally legislate for the end of Britain's membership and transpose four decades of European Union legislation into UK law.

They fired the opening salvos in what is expected to be a fraught parliamentary battle, with a heated debate on the date Britain leaves the EU - and whether to use London or Brussels time.

MPs debated one of the government's own motions - to enshrine in law the moment Britain leaves the EU as March 29, 2019, at 23:00 GMT in London and midnight in Brussels - but were not voting on the matter Tuesday.

Britain triggered the two-year Article 50 process of leaving the EU on March 29 this year, but this can be extended if all 28 EU member states including Britain agree.

The bill, also known as the Repeal Bill, is intended to ensure legal certainty and avoid a damaging "cliff edge" when Britain leaves the bloc.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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