UK Takes a Major Legislative Step to Enact Brexit
By Staff, Agencies
A Wednesday a bill that paves the way for Britain’s departure from the European Union next week completed its final big parliamentary stage with a noticeable absence of the fuss and drama of recent years.
Brexit is expected to be enacted into law as soon as Thursday, after the House of Commons on Wednesday followed the government’s request and rejected a series of amendments added by the unelected second chamber, the House of Lords, the New York Times reported.
The measure completed the legislative process in Britain, although the European Parliament will vote on the withdrawal agreement next week before Brexit happens formally on Jan 31. That vote is expected to pass with ease.
After the votes in the House of Commons on Wednesday, the bill returned to the House of Lords, though by convention the upper house ultimately gives way to the elected chamber of Parliament.
Nonetheless, analysts warn that Britain’s official departure from the European Union is the beginning of a new, tougher phase of negotiations as British and European representatives prepare to try to thrash out a trade deal in a matter of months.
Meanwhile, the European Union has not agreed on a mandate for the trade talks with Britain. One central demand will be for a “level playing field” designed to ensure that Britain does not undercut its continental neighbors by adopting weaker environmental or labor standards, or by offering state subsidies to businesses.
It is unclear whether Britain will ultimately adopt European rules for some sectors voluntarily and, if so, whether the two sides can agree on what would happen if the British decided at a later point to diverge.