June 11, 2018 / 4:44 PM / 10 days ago

Factbox: Brexit plan faces parliamentary test - what to expect

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May faces crunch votes in parliament this week and a potential showdown with pro-European rebels in her ruling party that could create yet another twist in the tortured effort to reach a Brexit deal.

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Here is what to expect:

Amendments to be discussed on Tuesday:

The sifting committee (amendment numbers 110 and 128)

This would give a so-called sifting committee of members of parliament the power to insist parliament gets a vote on legal changes. The government opposes this amendment.

Brexit day (37, 39 and 125)

This amendment would remove the legal date of Brexit, March 29, 2019, to let ministers change the date at the last minute if they don’t have a deal. The government opposes this amendment.

Meaningful vote (19)

This amendment gives parliament control in the final stages of Brexit, preventing the government from signing a deal with the EU that hasn’t been approved by lawmakers.

The government has put forward its own amendment to win over rebels by suggesting if parliament votes against the deal, a government minister will set out how the government plans to proceed within 28 days.

A leading pro-European Conservative lawmaker submitted his own amendment that would give ministers until the end of November to get agreement on the final Brexit deal. If no political agreement is reached by the end of November, ministers would have to put forward a motion to parliament setting out their proposed next steps – and win approval for the plan.

If there is no final Brexit deal by Feb. 15 next year, parliament would take control of the next steps.

Ability to challenge retained EU law (52)

This removes a section of the bill letting ministers use directives to decide who is able to challenge the validity of retained EU law post-Brexit. The government opposes this amendment.

Appropriate powers (10, 43, and 45)

This would limit ministers’ power to change law without a vote - they would only be able to do it “if necessary”, instead of “if appropriate”. The government opposes this amendment.

Mandate for negotiations (20)

This amendment would force the government to seek the approval of parliament for phase two negotiations with the EU. The government opposes this amendment.

Northern Ireland (25)

This would mean no changes to Irish border arrangements without the agreement of both the British and Irish governments.

The government has proposed its own amendments so that the bar on border changes refers only to physical infrastructure.

Devolution (to be confirmed)

Amendments to be discussed on Wednesday:

Customs union (1)

This amendment would require ministers to report what efforts they had made to secure a customs union by the end of October.

Members of parliament attempted to reach a compromise by proposing a new amendment that will instruct the government to report on what steps have been taken to negotiate a new customs arrangement.

The amendment, backed by Brexit minister David Davis, seems to have won enough support to avoid a government defeat.

Staying in the single market (51)

This amendment would keep Britain in the European Economic Area, meaning it would participate in the EU’s single market. The government opposes this amendment.

Charter of Fundamental Rights (5)

This would retain EU rights in national law before Britain leaves the bloc. The government opposes this amendment.

Citizens’ EU legal rights (53)

This would allow people to sue the government in UK courts for breaching “general principles” of EU law.

The government has proposed its own amendment that would give people the right to challenge a domestic law if it fails to comply with the general principles of EU law as long as they are limited to three years after Brexit.

Legal compliance (4)

This amendment would block ministers from changing EU laws on several issues - employment, equality, health and safety, environmental or consumer rights - without enhanced scrutiny. The government opposes this amendment.

Environmental law (3)

This amendment would vote in favour of adding environmental safeguards to the bill. The government opposes this amendment but it could come up with changes.

Refugees’ rights (24)

This would require ministers to seek agreement to maintain the right of unaccompanied child refugees in one EU state to join relatives in Britain after Brexit.

The government has proposed its own amendment to seek a deal with the EU so such children can join relatives who are lawful residents in Britain.

Future cooperation

The government has accepted an amendment that Britain can continue to participate in EU agencies after Brexit.

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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