May’s Brexit timeline expected to be largely on schedule

Theresa May’s majority in parliament could see her plans sail through without being materially affected.

The British Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan on sticking to her scheduled withdrawal from the European Union is likely to survive intense parliamentary scrutiny, starting today.

May’s government is seeking approval for a new law which gives her the power to trigger Article 50 of the EU-Lisbon Treaty and kickstart the legal process of leaving the EU. Last week the Britain’s Supreme Court had ruled that she does not have the power to unilaterally take the decision to trigger Article 50 of the said Treaty.

A few legislatures are likely to use this legislative opportunity to press her for more details of her negotiating strategy and provide the parliament and devolved governments more say over the Brexit process. Some may even try to block Brexit entirely.

But it is expected that May’s majority in parliament will mean she should be in a position to start the Brexit process by the end of March and leave her plans relatively intact.

“I suspect at the moment there isn’t going to be enough for a majority for any amendment. The bottom line is that there is very, very, very little appetite for Conservative MPs (Members of Parliament) to back any amendments,” said a source close to cross-party discussions on the legislation.

On its part, the Labour party, has disclosed that it will not fully thwart the Brexit process, however it is expected that Britain’s second largest party will call for increased scrutiny on the Brexit process.

However, many Labour MPs have openly disagreed with this stance and are likely to openly oppose the Brexit process. Lawmakers who disagree with May’s ‘hard Brexit’ strategy are gearing up for a fight. They want to country to have access to the world’s largest trading bloc and want to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU.

Already five different amendments have been submitted by lawmakers from different opposition parties. The intense debate, expected to last for two days, is likely to include a vote on issues.

“If we’re serious about opposing an extreme Brexit then we can’t just wave through Article 50,” said Caroline Lucas, an MP from the Green Party and a signatory of one of the amendments.

In addition to this, 60 pages of proposed amendments to the short two-clause bill, have been submitted for debate. However, the government is expected to use its majority to assert its will and argue that the historic June 23 referendum has empowered the government to kickstart the Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

“It is simply about implementing a decision already made, a point of no return already passed,” said David Davis, Britain’s Brexit minister.

“We asked the people of the UK if they wanted to leave the EU; they decided they did.”

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