May in Brexit debate: We are on track

British Prime Minister Theresa MayBritish Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street on her way to the Houses of Parliament, in London, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Prime Minister Theresa May assures that Britain is on track with heading out of the EU. She promises to press the “Brexit button” before the end of March .

– This will be a defining moment for the whole of our country,  May stated in Parliament on Tuesday.

The House of Parliament made the final decision the evening before.  which now gives the government the authority to take the country out of the EU. This is done by  triggering Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon treaty .

Ahead of May’s speech in Parliament, there was speculation that she would press the “Brexit button” immediately.

She did not, but she promised to keep the undertaking to trigger Article 50 by the end of March. Queen Elizabeth will formally approve Parliament’s decision in a matter of days.

– We continue to follow the schedule that I put forward six months ago, the Prime Minister said.

The Lords changes removed
The government’s proposed Brexit- bill to Parliament was first amended by the Lords in the House of Lords. They wanted to ensure the rights of EU citizens resident in the UK.

In addition, they wanted to give Parliament the opportunity to vote on the Brexit agreement that the government will negotiate with the EU.

But the changes were removed by the House of Commons, and when the matter came back to the House of Lords on Monday night, the government’s version was accepted there too.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn describes the decision for thumbs down for EU citizens’ rights as “very disappointing”, writes The Guardian.

Nicolas Hatton, leader of the grassroots movement ‘The 3million’ , fear that the estimated 3 million EU citizens living in Britain will become political bargaining chips.

New Scottish referendum?
Mays victory in Parliament on Monday had a bitter aftertaste because of the announcement of Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Earlier in the day she submitted their plan to hold a new referendum on Scottish secession from Britain.

Many analysts believe May in practice will not be able to reject the claim. But she will do everything she can to postpone the vote until after Brexit is completed.

Sturgeon leaves open the possibility that a new referendum may be dropped. But then the London government will have to agree a compromise with Scotland about it’s relations with the EU after Brexit. The First Minister wants ideally an agreement in which the Scots continue to be part of the EU internal market.

Split Tories

According to several British newspapers May had really intended to declare the release of  Article 50 on Tuesday . Apparently it was Sturgeons plans for a new Scottish referendum that forced the Prime Minister to go back to the original schedule.

Sturgeon’s initiative will be able to force May to have to argue against Scottish secession while she negotiates the British disengagement from the EU.

In addition, May could face growing opposition in her own party.

– The Tory unity is more fragile than it appears to be, says political scientist Tim Bale at Queen Mary University of London to AFP.

He believes the decades-old divisions between the pro- and no sides in the Conservative party will come to the surface again. Euro skeptics sits at the helm now, but most of the Conservatives would actually still want EU membership.

 

Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today

 

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