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Back the bill, urges UK's May as Brexit law faces crunch test

  • May was speaking ahead of a series of crunch parliamentary votes that could see a rebellion by those who want closer EU ties.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2018.
Francois Lenoir | Reuters
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2018.

British Prime Minister Theresa May urged lawmakers to back the legislation that will end Britain's membership in the European Union, ahead of a series of crunch parliamentary votes that could see a rebellion by those who want closer EU ties.

May's Brexit plan will begin its most severe test to date on June 12 when she asks her divided Conservative Party to overturn changes made to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill by parliament's upper chamber.

"I hope what everybody will see when they come to vote next week is the importance of ensuring that we get the EU withdrawal bill onto the statute book, because it's that EU withdrawal bill that ensures that we're able to have that smooth transition when we leave the European Union," May said, speaking to reporters on Thursday during a flight to Canada, where she will attend the G-7 summit.

The most contentious changes center on Britain's future economic relationship with the EU. Namely whether Britain should leave the EU's customs union, as May wants, or stay closely aligned with the bloc's border regime, as some members of her party want.