May's landmark EU withdrawal bill passes first parliamentary hurdle

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s landmark legislation to end the United Kingdom’s membership in the EU has passed its first parliamentary hurdle.

MPs passed the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill by 326 votes to 290 on Monday, giving the Conservative government a majority of 36 and paving the way for greater powers to be handed to government ministers.

All Conservative MPs voted in support of the legislation while seven Labour lawmakers also joined them, defying their leader Jeremy Corbyn’s orders to vote down the new law.  

The legislation would repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and convert directly-applicable EU laws and regulations into UK law. It is designed to incorporate about 12,000 EU laws and regulations into UK statute in March 2019 when the country leaves the EU.

The May government says the bill, designed to disentangle Britain from more than 40 years of EU lawmaking, is the first step in implementing last year’s…

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