London: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth granted royal assent to Prime Minister Theresa May’s flagship Brexit legislation on Tuesday, ending months of debate over the legislation that will formally end the country’s European Union membership.
The House of Commons speaker John Bercow said the EU Withdrawal Bill, passed by both houses of Parliament last week, had been signed into law by the monarch, to cheers from Conservative lawmakers.
“I have to notify the House in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967 that her Majesty has signified her royal assent to the following acts European Union Withdrawal Act 2018,” Commons Speaker John Bercow told lawmakers during a session of the House.
The new act will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, which put European law above laws made by the British Parliament as the country joined the European Economic Community (EEC). It will ensure the supremacy of British law on Brexit Day – March 29, 2019.
To ensure a smooth ‘Brexit’
- The new act ensures that around 20,000 pieces of EU legislation will now be transferred into British law, in an attempt to ensure a smooth ‘Brexit’. It was subject to fierce debate as it passed through Parliament, with many attempts to change its wording.
- A potential rebellion by PM May’s own Conservative party MPs was seen off after she promised to allow the Speaker to rule on whether the Commons would get a so-called ‘meaningful vote’ in the event of no deal with the EU.
- The EU Withdrawal Bill is just the first major hurdle on the path of Brexit for the UK government, with other significant bills on future trade and customs ties with the EU set to return to the House of Commons after the House of Lords’ interventions.