Britain's Parliament clears way for Brexit launch

U.K. Parliament clears Brexit trigger
(Image credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday night, Britain's Parliament gave final approval to a European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, handing Prime Minister Theresa May unrestricted authority to trigger the U.K.'s exit from the European Union and negotiate the terms of the cleaving without further input from lawmakers. The House of Commons had approved the bill in February, and on Monday it rejected two amendments approved by the upper House of Lords — one guaranteeing EU citizens the right to live in Britain and the other giving Parliament a final vote on the Brexit deal. On Monday night, after the lower house ping-ponged the bill back, the House of Lords approved it without the amendments.

May has said she plans to to invoke Article 50 of the EU charter by March 31, formally beginning the Brexit process. Hours before Parliament voted, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to hold a second Scottish independence vote to give Scots a chance to stay in the EU, opening the possibility — if May approves the Scottish referendum — that England could both leave the EU and dissolve its 300-year-old union with Scotland.

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