Briton pressured by EU-exit debate

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May is caught in a vise of pressure from both sides of her country’s exit debate as she tries to get a key plank in the government’s plans for leaving the European Union through Parliament.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill returns this week to the House of Commons, where it will face a flurry of amendments from lawmakers.

The bill is designed to prevent a legal vacuum by converting about 12,000 EU laws into British statute on the day the United Kingdom leaves the bloc in 2019. Legislators are scheduled to hold several days of debate and votes starting Tuesday.

But many lawmakers claim the bill gives the government too much power to amend legislation without parliamentary scrutiny. They aim to pass amendments to water down those powers.

And opponents of the EU exit — both from the opposition and from May’s Conservative Party — will seek to give Parliament a binding vote on the final divorce deal between Britain and the EU.

Meanwhile, supporters of the exit are pressuring May not to give ground by compromising with the EU or with anti-exit lawmakers.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Environment Secretary Michael Gove, leading euroskeptics in May’s Cabinet, warned the prime minister in a note to stand firm in the ambition of making Britain “a fully independent self-governing country by the time of the next election” in 2022, the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported.

The note published by the newspaper accused some ministers of not preparing for the exit with “sufficient energy.”

The government’s negotiations with the EU have been slowed by a lack of agreement on the terms of the U.K.’s withdrawal, including how much Britain must pay to meet its financial commitments to the bloc.

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