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  • Anti-Brexit protester Steve Bray is seen outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, April 8, 2019

    Anti-Brexit protester Steve Bray is seen outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, April 8, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 April 2019

A decision will be made on Wednesday as the issue will be formally discussed by EU leaders at a special summit. 

The United Kingdom’s parliament approved a law on Monday that gives British MPs power to scrutinize and make legally binding changes to Prime Minister Theresa May’s request for the European Union (EU) to delay Brexit until June 30.

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EU Offers 12-Month Brexit Delay, May Wants a June 30 Deadline

The legislation, proposed by Labour MP Yvette Cooper, aims to force May, who has already asked Brussels to extend Britain’s EU membership to allow talks with the opposition Labour Party in search for a different exit plan. Yet lawmakers wanted an additional legal guarantee against a “no-deal” divorce happening on April 12.

The bill passed through the House of Commons by a single vote last week and was then approved with minor changes in the House of Lords Monday, which the Commons then had to sign off on and wait for the Queen’s seal to officially become a law. 

“Both houses of parliament have tonight strongly made clear their view that a no deal would be deeply damaging to jobs, manufacturing, and security of our country,” said lawmaker Cooper.

Yet the legislation itself marks an unprecedented action in the U.K’s constitutional order and a significant blow to May’s authority, as it overturns the long-standing convention that the government has sole control of the agenda in parliament, allowing it to control what laws are passed.

“(It) is like tossing a hand grenade into our constitutional arrangements,” said eurosceptic Conservative lawmaker Bill Cash.

On Tuesday, the MPs will debate changes to the PM’s proposal for the EU. Meanwhile, May will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to ask for a Brexit delay as her ministers hold crisis talks with Labour to try to break the deadlock in London.

The prime minister will retain some freedom to agree to a different date with the EU. The short extension proposal is set for June 30. On the other hand, President of the European Council Donald Tusk will ask the EU to grant a "flexible" 12-month extension to Brexit, in an effort by the bloc's president to avoid further requests for short extensions.

The decision will be made on Wednesday as the issue will be formally discussed by EU leaders at a special summit. However, a no-deal Brexit is still possible as the decision for an extension can be vetoed by any of 27 member states.

For this reason, the London Stock Exchange, Europe’s largest and main financial center, is preparing for a no-deal Brexit. On Monday it said its pan-European platform Turquoise would shift trading in euro-denominated shares to its new Dutch hub. The LSE’s preparations are similar to those announced by Europe’s biggest pan-European share trading platform, Cboe, on Friday.

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