LONDON (Reuters) – The lower house of the British parliament on Wednesday approved legislation which would force Prime Minister Theresa May to seek a Brexit delay to prevent a potentially disorderly departure on April 12 without a deal.
Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow speaks in the Parliament in London, Britain April 3, 2019, in this screen grab taken from video. Reuters TV via REUTERS
The legislation, put forward by opposition Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper, was rushed through all of its stages in the House of Commons in less than six hours. It was approved at the final stage by 313 votes to 312. It now has to pass the upper chamber, the House of Lords.
May said on Tuesday she would seek another short extension to Brexit beyond April 12, in order to try and work with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to get her thrice-rejected Brexit deal approved by parliament.
Cooper said the legislation was still needed to set out a clear process for how decisions are taken over the length of any extension. The bill requires May to get parliament’s approval for the detail of any delay and allows lawmakers to propose a different length of extension.
“Perhaps crucially it would demonstrate to the EU parliamentary support for what the prime minister is asking for,” she told parliament during the debate on the legislation.
Any further delay to Britain’s exit would need unanimous approval from EU leaders.
To avoid an abrupt no-deal Brexit on April 12, May must present a summit of EU leaders next Wednesday with a plausible strat