September 4, 2017 / 1:33 PM / 10 months ago

UK finance minister warns lawmakers against delaying EU withdrawal legislation

LONDON, Sept 4 (Reuters) - British finance minister Philip Hammond urged lawmakers on Monday not to seek to delay legislation that will sever the country’s ties with the European Union.

Parliament will hold its first full debate on the legislation on Thursday and media have reported the main opposition Labour Party is planning to propose several changes to the repeal bill.

The government only has a slim majority in parliament, reliant on an agreement with a smaller party, and is vulnerable if pro-European lawmakers team up with other parties to vote down legislation or support amendments.

“I would say to backbenchers (lawmakers) who are thinking about seeking to amend or delay the withdrawal bill, that now is not the time to disrupt this vitally important piece of enabling legislation,” Hammond told reporters.

“This piece of legislation is a vital enabler, giving the government the flexibility to deal with the changes that will have to be made as we leave the European Union and hopefully forge a new partnership with our European neighbours beyond that.” (Reporting by Kate Holton, Writing by Kylie MacLellan, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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