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House of Commons passes Brexit Bill

10 February 2017

The legislation will now go to the House of Lords.

The bill has three primary elements: repealing the European Communities Act 1972; preserving EU law where it stands at the moment before the United Kingdom leaves the EU; and enabling changes to be made by secondary legislation to the laws that would otherwise not function sensibly once the United Kingdom has left the EU.

It will now be sent to the House of Lords, where Labour and Liberal Democrat peers are expected to press for concessions on issues including the status of European Union citizens in the UK. Many lawmakers, including some from May's Conservative party, wanted Parliament to be given the power to modify the Brexit agreement before it is ratified by both the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Brexit Secretary David Davis last night called on the Lords to "do its job and to do its patriotic duty" by passing the bill, while a government source was widely quoted as saying: "If the Lords don't want to face an overwhelming public call to be abolished they must get on and protect democracy and pass this bill". The rest are non-affiliated or members of smaller parties.

The bill's clearance by the House of Commons is a success for Theresa May, who appears to be on track with her pledge to trigger article 50 by the end of March.

The Bill will be introduced in the upper chamber on February 20 and is expected to complete its passage by Tuesday March 7.

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Are peers likely to try to block Brexit then?

Before 1999, the House of Lords was primarily composed of hereditary peers who had inherited their seats from their ancestors.

"It's very simple, it's just authorizing the government to do what the people told them to do", he said, rejecting accusations that the government had railroaded the bill.

That is quite a threat.

Till now, the bill had cleared two days of debate in the UK Parliament's Lower House without being altered.

Under Tony Blair, there was a cull of more than 600 hereditary peers but attempts by the Lib Dems during the coalition years to elect 80% of the upper chamber and cut its membership to 450 were ditched amid Tory opposition.