Boris Johnson’s EU withdrawal agreement bill has been published, with protections on workers’ rights, unaccompanied refugee children and parliament’s say over the future relationship stripped out.
MPs are expecting to vote on the EU withdrawal agreement bill for the first time in this parliament on Friday, as Johnson aims to rush it through its first stage before Christmas.
The new bill scraps or waters down a number of key protections that were in the last one published in October, when Johnson was trying to get the support of some backbench Labour MPs to get it through parliament.
It removes an entire schedule that promised to protect workers’ rights, with the government suggesting this will now be dealt with in separate legislation.
Ministers will no longer be bound by the legislation to provide updates on the future trading relationship or to make sure parliament approves the government’s negotiating objectives.
In a third change, a commitment to take unaccompanied refugee children from Europe, known as the Dubs amendment, is watered down. The legislation acknowledges this is still an aim but does not make a legal promise to take them.
A No 10 spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring that children who are claiming asylum or international protection will be reunited with specified family members in the EU and vice versa.
MPs vote on the revised EU withdrawal agreement bill for the first time in the new parliament after Boris Johnson promised that Britain would leave the European Union by 31 January.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson successfully tested his new parliamentary majority on Friday, with lawmakers approving his amended Brexit bill, which puts the country on course to leave the European Union by Jan. 31.
Lawmakers have agreed to the legislation in principle and it will now be debated further by both chambers of Parliament early next year. But it now looks likely that it will complete its passage with 358 MPs (members of Parliament) backing it and 234 voting against it.
Over the course of years and in some cases decades, millions of Europeans have built their careers and families in the U.K. — a place they call home.
But with Britain set to leave the European Union at the end of January, European citizens living in the U.K. have been forced to apply for permission to stay in the country after it pulls out of the 28 nation bloc.
Some 2.6 million of the more than 3 million E.U. citizens who live in the U.K. have already applied to remain as part of a settlement scheme introduced by the British government this year.
For some, having to apply to stay in the country they call home has been a humiliating experience.
Richard Bertinet, a baker, has lived in the U.K. for 31 years after moving from France. He was granted the right to remain, but getting it wasn’t easy.
To his surprise, he initially qualified only for “pre-settled status,” intended for people who have lived in the U.K. for less than five years and one step before the full “settled status.”
“I spent more of my life in the U.K. than in France,” Bertinet, 53, told NBC News, as he took a break from teaching a baking class at his cooking school in the picturesque city of Bath in southwest England where he lives with his British wife and three children.
“To have to prove 31 years of your life here? It’s a joke,” he said. “They can go to my Wikipedia page and see who I am.”
‘Proudest non-British British person’ The U.K. voted to leave the E.U. in a June 2016 referendum that revealed deep divisions in British society. Those in favor of leaving wanted to “take back control” of the country’s laws and borders. Immigration emerged as one of the major issues for voters.
As things stand, British citizens have the freedom to move and work across the entire bloc of other 27 nations that make up the E.U., while citizens from those countries enjoy the same rights in the U.K.
Removing Britain from this system and creating new immigration rules was a major motivation for many Brexit supporters.
In the lead up to the referendum, pro-Brexit politicians promised E.U. citizens already living in the U.K. that they would automatically be granted the right to remain in the country and that their rights would stay the same.
Britain's parliament has passed the legislation necessary to take it out of the European Union next week after House of Lords abandoned attempts to amend it.
The upper chamber approved the Brexit bill after the House of Commons overturned changes made by the Lords a day earlier.
Barring the formality of royal assent, this completes the legal steps to put the negotiated divorce deal into effect in the UK.
Securing the bill was never in doubt following the Conservatives’ resounding election victory in December. But it was nonetheless a highly symbolic moment, especially in the wake of last year’ parliamentary paralysis that saw former Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal repeatedly rejected by MPs.
Also deprived of a majority, her successor hit obstacles too in the House of Commons until the game-changing election. On Wednesday Boris Johnson reacted with relief.