Brexit Bill: UK lawmakers voted against protecting rights of EU nationals living in UK. By a majority of 48, MPs have refused to protect unilaterally the rights of EU nationals living in the UK. The vote on Monday evening allows Theresa May to negotiate over the rights of EU nationals in the UK, in exchange for the rights of British citizens in the EU.
The House of Lords had amended the government’s Brexit bill to demand that EU and EEA citizens and their family members who are legally resident in the EU “continue to be treated in the same way”, despite the Brexit vote. That was rejected by 335 votes to 287.
The debate featured an impassioned plea by former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, who cited his Dutch mother and Spanish wife as examples as those affected by the uncertainty.
Labour peers have said they will not vote to reinsert the provisions, making a prolonged period of what is known as “ping-pong” between the elected chamber and its unelected counterpart much less likely.
Only two Tory MPs – Tania Mathias and Alex Chalk – defied the government over the issue of EU nationals as the government won the first vote comfortably. There were no rebels in the second vote although about ten Tories are believed to have abstained.
After reversing the Lords changes, the bill will pass back to peers to decide whether they want to go against the government’s plans again.
The bill travels back and forth between the two chambers until both sides agree – Parliament could sit through the night to try to reach an agreement, and time has also been set aside on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Both Houses of Parliament have to agree the text of the bill before it can be sent for Royal Assent and become law.
British actor David Schneider commented on the vote:
"To EU citizens. Thanks for your contributions to our society but we couldn’t give a shit now. You’re just pawns."https://t.co/SIaVbzypPZ
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) March 13, 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May could then theoretically trigger Article 50, which formally starts the Brexit process, as early as Tuesday
Downing Street has ruled out triggering Article 50, the EU’s formal exit clause, on Tuesday, saying that notification will not come until the last week of March.
Meanwhile, Scotland;s leader Nicola Sturgeon seeks a new independence referendum.
Sturgeon has said she will seek authority for a new independence referendum because Britain is dragging Scotland out of the European Union against its will.
The First Minister said she would move quickly to give Scottish voters a chance to make Scotland an independent country.
Sturgeon said the referendum should be held between autumn 2018 and the spring of 2019.
She said by then, details of Britain’s post-Brexit deal with the EU would be clear and Scottish voters would be able to make “an informed choice”.