House of Commons rejects changes to Brexit legislation
January 22, 2020
LONDON (Reuters) - The lower house of Britain’s parliament on Wednesday overturned changes made by the upper house to the legislation needed to ratify the country’s divorce agreement with the European Union. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has signalled he will not accept any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which will enact Britain’s departure from the EU on Jan. 31, facing down opposition lawmakers who say he has hardened its terms. Earlier this week, the upper house of parliament, or House of Lords, made several changes to the legislation, including a clause to ensure protections for child refugees after Brexit. But on Wednesday, the lower house, or House of Commons, where Johnson holds a large majority, voted to reject the changes proposed by the House of Lords, including over the rights of EU citizens in Britain after Brexit. The bill will now return to the House of Lords, where peers could try again to change it in a process known as ping-pong, when legislation can bounce between the chambers until both sign it off. Historically the Lords will not block legislation permanently if it was part of the government’s election platform, and the disagreement is not expected to affect the bill becoming law, which could come as early as Thursday.