Europe

UK passes law forcing May to consult on EU

British lawmakers will have the power to scrutinise and change Theresa May's Brexit delay plan. Source: AAP

A law giving parliament in Britain the power to change Prime Minister Theresa May's request to delay Brexit until June 30 has been approved.

Britain's parliament has approved legislation giving lawmakers the power to scrutinise and even change Prime Minister Theresa May's request the European Union agree to delay Brexit until June 30.

The bill, which has received its final rubber stamp approval from Queen Elizabeth, gives MPs the chance to make legally binding changes to May's requested departure date during a debate scheduled for Tuesday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street.
British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street.
AAP

Britain's House of Lords had earlier approved the legislation.

May has already asked Brussels to extend Britain's EU membership until June 30 to allow talks with the Labour Party in search of a different exit plan.

It is a last-ditch attempt to keep control after parliament rejected May's own Brexit deal three times. But MPs want additional legal guarantees against a "no-deal" exit happening on April 12 - the current exit day.

"Both houses of parliament have tonight strongly made clear their view that a no deal would be deeply damaging to jobs, manufacturing and security of our country," Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who helped propose the legislation, said.

The bill passed through the Commons by a single vote last week and was then approved with minor changes in the House of Lords, an unelected body whose role is to refine and scrutinise legislation.

The passage of the bill represents a significant blow to May's authority, overturning the long-standing convention the government has sole control of the agenda in parliament, allowing it to control what laws are passed.

The UK remains bitterly divided around Brexit.
The UK remains bitterly divided around Brexit.
Twitter

May is due to travel to Paris and Berlin on Tuesday to press her request for a short delay, before it is formally discussed by EU leaders on Wednesday.

The decision can be vetoed by any of the other 27 member states.

If Britain's exit is delayed beyond May 22, the EU has said it will have to take part in European Parliament elections. The British government on Monday took the legal steps necessary to take part in that vote.

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