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31st-Jan-2018

British Lords gear up for Brexit bill battle

By AFP, London


Britain's House of Lords begins scrutiny Tuesday of a key piece of Brexit legislation, as a leaked government report said Britain would be worse off whatever deal it strikes with the EU.
Almost 200 peers have requested to speak during the two-day debate on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, many of them likely to be critical of its provisions to smooth Britain's exit from the European Union, threatening another headache for Prime Minister Theresa May as she battles criticism from her own party.
The bill would repeal the 1972 act that made Britain a member of the bloc and transfer four decades of EU regulations onto the British statute books.
May's government suffered one defeat when the bill went through the elected lower House of Commons late last year, after MPs demanded a vote on the final exit deal struck with Brussels.
Peers in the unelected upper House of Lords are threatening further amendments, including on new powers for ministers to amend the EU laws as they are moved across, which a Lords committee said were "wholly unacceptable".
The main opposition Labour Party and the pro-EU Liberal Democrats will also seek to reject the government's attempt to enshrine Brexit day in the bill.