Peers and MPs have scrapped both amendments to Theresa May's Brexit Bill

 
Mark Sands
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The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

The House of Lords has voted against reinstating their amendment to the Brexit bill, nearly clearing the way for Prime Minister Theresa May to trigger Article 50 by the end of the month.

Peers voted down the Lib Dem amendment by a majority of 156. Now, the bill needs the Queen to give Royal assent, which will officially hand May the power to begin Brexit.

This comes after MPs overwhelmingly backed May's plans for Brexit, rejecting two amendments to legislation that ministers claimed would have restricted the UK's ability to negotiate.

After two hours of debate on the Article 50 Bill, MPs voted by 335 to 287 to strike down a clause that would have mandated protection for EU nationals currently in the UK.

And a bid to offer parliament a “meaningful” vote on the final Brexit deal - which could have been used to force May back to negotiations if MPs and peers rejected the results of her negotiations - was rejected 331 to 286.

Despite the government victory, the debate again laid bare divisions on the Conservative benches, with MPs including former Conservative ministers Dominic Grieve and Anna Soubry criticising the approach to Brexit.

However, few Tories went as far as actually rebelling against the government. Just two Conservative MPs voted to retain the amendment on EU nationals, while none voted to support the "meaningful" vote amendment.

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It comes after it emerged that May would not trigger Article 50 this week, despite the House of Lords being put on notice to vote on the historic legislation as soon as possible.

The vote in the House of Commons means that the unelected House of Lords will now be face greater pressure to approve the bill without the amendments. Sacked Brexit rebel Lord Heseltine said this weekend that peers must be prepared to back down if MPs scrap the changes.

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