The British lower house of parliament has rejected a bid to give MPs more power over the final terms of Brexit as well as more rights to EU nationals living in the UK after the leaves the European Union.
On Monday, the House of Commons approved a bill allowing the government of Prime Minister Theresa May to begin the Brexit process.
Amendments made by the House of Lords to the British government’s Brexit bill in order to give the parliament more power over the exit as well as guarantee the rights of EU nationals were voted down 335 to 287.
“Over the last five weeks we have seen parliament at its best. Honourable and Right Honourable members and peers have spoken with passion, sincerity and conviction. However, I was disappointed that the House of Lords voted to amend this bill. This bill is just the next step in a long democratic process surrounding our exit from the European Union,” Brexit Secretary David Davis told lawmakers ahead of the vote.
Davis also praised EU nationals for their contribution to the UK economy.
“European citizens already resident in the United Kingdom make a vital contribution to our economy and our society,” he said. “Without them we would be poorer.”
Davis further vowed to consider Britain’s national interests, yet asserting that “we will not enter the negotiations with our hands tied. This is not to say I do not appreciate the concerns that lie behind these amendments. It is not the ends we disagree on, but the means.”
He made the remarks as a protest was being held outside in favor of the amendments.
The Monday vote would give May the go-ahead to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in order to start formal negotiations for Brexit, following a referendum on June 23, 2016.
Protesters hold up anti-Brexit placards as they take part in a protest in support of an amendment to guarantee legal status of EU citizens, outside the Houses of Parliament in London on March 13, 2017. (Photos by AFP)