Britain to trigger Article 50 on March 29, formally launching Brexit process

DW – March 20, 2017

Prime Minister May will write a letter to the European Union on March 29 to formally announce Britain’s withdrawal from the soon-to-be 27 member bloc, a spokesman for the British leader said on Monday.

The UK informed European Council President Donald Tusk’s office of May’s intention, the spokesman added.

Triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will start the clock on two years of formal negotiations, at the end of which Britain will leave the EU. The British parliament backed May’s Article 50 plan last week after 51.9 percent of participants voted for Brexit in a referendum last June.

“Next Wednesday, the government will deliver on that decision and formally start the process by triggering Article 50,” Brexit Minister David Davis said in a statement.

“We are on the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation.”

UK House of Lords votes to amend Brexit bill giving parliament final say

DW – March 7, 2017

The unelected upper chamber of the UK parliament voted 366 to 268 on Tuesday to require approval from parliament, not just the government, on the final deal for Britain to leave the European Union and future trade ties.

It’s an amendment to the bill which was drafted to empower Prime Minister Theresa May to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty. Triggering Article 50 starts the clock ticking on the two-year process for the UK and the bloc to disentangle themselves from one another. May had promised to begin the withdrawal process by the end of March.

The timeline for her to do so is already about a week behind schedule as the House of Lords also voted on March 1 for another amendment which would guarantee the rights of the estimated 3 million EU citizens living in the UK, but May remained confident she would still meet her goal. Her government said the amendments would damage their standing in Brexit negotiations.

“It is clear that some in theLords would seek to frustrate that process, and it is the Government’s intention to ensure that does not happen. We will now aim to overturn these amendments in the House of Commons,” Brexit Minister David Davis said in response to the vote.

British lawmakers give May green light to launch Brexit negotiations

DW – February 8, 2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May moved significantly closer on Wednesday towards her goal of triggering Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty by the end of March and starting two years of negotiations concerning Britain’s divorce from the European Union.

After three days of debate, the House of Commons overwhelmingly approved May’s Brexit bill, with 494 MPs voting in favor and 122 voting against.

The prime minister told Parliament on Wednesday, “We believe it is possible within the two-year time frame to get the agreement not just for our withdrawal but also for the trade arrangements to ensure we have a strong strategic partnership in the future.”

Brexit campaigner and former Conservative party leader Ian Duncan Smith said that “tonight we have started the process of delivering on … what the people wanted.”

Scottish parliament rejects Brexit in non-binding vote

DW – February 7, 2017

The Scottish parliament voted overwhelmingly against triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on Tuesday. The motion, presented by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, was backed by 90 votes to 34, with most of the votes against coming from UK Prime Minister May’s own party, the Conservatives.

As British lawmakers in Westminster debate legislation which will start the Brexit process, the Scottish government argues, that the draft bill should not proceed as Westminster has allegedly failed to set the necessary provisions with the devolved administrations (of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) on reaching a UK-wide approach on Brexit.

Ahead of Tuesday’s non-binding vote, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was one of the most important in the semi-autonomous parliament’s 18-year history.

“This vote is far more than symbolic. It is a key test of whether Scotland’s voice is being listened to and whether our wishes can be accommodated within the UK process,” Sturgeon said.