Brexit bill delayed as House of Lords backs EU nationals’ rights

UK’s upper house, The House of Lords voted on 2 March 2017 to amend the Brexit Bill, thereby delaying the bill’s passing. The members of the House voted 358 to 256 for an amendment that will require the ministers to protect the rights of more than three million European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens living in the UK after it exits the EU.

The Brexit Bill will now have to return to the lower house, the House of Commons for further debate and deliberation. However, since it was approved by a large majority in the lower house, chances are high that the house would reject the proposed amendment and send the original bill back to Lords. This move does though delay the final approval of the bill just weeks ahead of Theresa May’s set deadline for triggering Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon treaty.

On 23 June 2016, the citizens of UK voted to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. Almost 30 million people cast their vote to decide UK’s fate. The total turnout was around 71.8 per cent. The final results saw 51.9 per cent votes in the favour of UK to leave EU and 48.1 per cent to remain.

The vote was fuelled by concerns of mass migration of people from the EU to Britain. May promised to end free movement of workers from the other 27 EU countries to Britain. However, the fate of those who are already in the UK remains uncertain. Though May repeatedly stressed that she wants them to stay but she also said that she must secure the rights of the 1.2 million British citizens living in the EU.

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