UK: Both Houses of Parliament pass EU Withdrawal Bill

23rd Jan 2020
UK: Both Houses of Parliament pass EU Withdrawal Bill

 

By Ahmet Gürhan Kartal

 

LONDON (AA): The EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) that pave the way of Britain’s exit from the EU on Jan. 31 has been passed by the House of Lords, Wednesday evening. This historical decision was welcomed by UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson as a “bright, exciting future”.

Johnson promised a “bright, exciting future” after after the Bill was passed by both houses of Parliament.

The Prime Minister said: “At times, it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we’ve done it.”

The Bill was sent back to the Upper House of the Parliament earlier after five amendments made by the Lords were voted down and removed by the House of Commons.

The Peers did not insist on any of those amendments and paved the way for the Bill to become law.

Peers had defeated the Government on EU workers having the right to physical proof of their right to remain and on the power of courts to depart from European Court of Justice rulings.

They also worked to ensure the rights of unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their families in the UK post-Brexit.

The legislation that will implement the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the EU will now wait for the Royal assent to become law.

According to the Bill, the U.K. will leave the EU on Jan. 31 when a transition period, which will expire on Dec. 31, 2020, will kick in.

The EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill passed the first stage of legislative process in October but the process was paused by Johnson when he failed to receive approval on a timetable to make it law, before the previous Brexit deadline of Oct. 31.

Missing the Oct. 31 deadline and being forced to ask for an extension from the EU, Johnson had called early general election after the EU granted an extension until Jan. 31, 2020.

Securing a majority in the House of Commons in December poll, Johnson cleared the way for the Bill to become a law before the end of January.

The revised deal reached between Johnson and the EU officials include a lighter version of the backstop for Northern Ireland and the right to decide on alignment with the EU for the region’s yet-to-be-formed devolved government.

The backstop clause was the thorniest issue for previous deal reached by former Prime Minister Theresa May, which she repeatedly failed to reach approving numbers in the House of Commons.

According to Johnson’s deal, Northern Ireland will remain aligned with the EU rules for a period of four years and the term will be reviewed by the local Executive when it expires with an option to extend it.

The U.K. decided to leave the bloc after more than 40 years of membership in a referendum held in June 2016.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Archive Photo: UK Parliament by © Oast House Archive/Creative Commons]

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