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Britain's PM sees off Brexit plan challenges

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 01:53

British Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for Brexit sees of challenges on the first day of its line-by-line examination. David Doyle reports.

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***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASHING IMAGES*** (SOUNDBITE) (English) CONSERVATIVE LAWMAKER, ANNA SOUBRY, SAYING: "You're an absolute disgrace. You're a disgrace." Angry words in the UK parliament on Tuesday (14 November) as British lawmakers debated European Union withdrawal legislation late into the night. They're going line-by-line through Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit blueprint which will sever ties with the 28-member EU bloc. It's a process that is expected to take weeks, and one in which the government's critics - both within the ruling Conservative party and its opposition - will use challenges to try and force concessions. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CONSERVATIVE LAWMAKER, KEN CLARKE, SAYING: "I'm the rebel". But the plan emerged from its first day, at least, unscathed. Amendments on the time and date of exit and the future role of the EU court were voted down or dropped. And the prime minister wasn't even there - kept away by other engagements but also suggesting that she was not unduly worried by the initial discussions. But behind this debate is a split between a pro-Brexit camp concerned about attempts to circumvent withdrawal and a pro-EU camp that fears the UK may crash out of the bloc without a deal. That tension spilling out into catcalls, jeers and sarcastic comments - not just between the two major parties, as is usual, but often within them. And all that as the pressure continues to mount on May. She's recently lost two ministers to scandals and is facing calls for her foreign minister, Boris Johnson, to resign over remarks made about a British-Iranian aid worker jailed in Iran. And she relies on a small Northern Irish party for her majority in parliament since a disastrous election in June. The first day of challenges to her Brexit plan - and her authority - may be over. But there are many more ahead.

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Britain's PM sees off Brexit plan challenges

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 01:53