Brexit: Ministers aim to reverse Lords defeats on Monday-NewsCO

March 9, 2017

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PA

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Theresa May and EU leaders will vote on Donald Tusk’s presidency of the European Council

The government has cleared time for MPs to consider amendments made by the House of Lords to its Brexit bill.

Commons Leader David Lidington announced that the bill will be debated by MPs on Monday, 13 March.

Ministers hope to overturn peers’ calls for a “meaningful” parliamentary vote on the final terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

They also want to reverse a Lords defeat on the issue of guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK.

The news that time had been cleared for the bill to be debated on Monday came as Theresa May joins other EU leaders in Brussels for a summit that could be her last before Brexit negotiations begin.

The 28 EU leaders are to discuss migration, security and economic growth, but the meeting is expected to be dominated by a vote on whether former Polish prime minister Donald Tusk should remain European Council president – a move opposed by Poland’s government.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo has accused his predecessor Mr Tusk of interfering in his home country’s domestic affairs in a letter that has been sent to EU leaders.

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AFP/Getty Images

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At the summit, EU leaders will vote on whether Donald Tusk should continue in his role until 30 November 2019

Instead, Warsaw would like to see Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski take the European Council president’s job.

At the summit, EU leaders will vote on whether Mr Tusk, whose initial two-and-a-half-year term in office expires at the end of May, should continue in his role until 30 November 2019.

The president is elected by the European Council by a qualified majority, which means that no single country can veto it.

Mrs May’s official spokesman said she would not reveal her voting intentions before the summit, adding: “The prime minister has been clear that she thinks that he (Mr Tusk) is doing a good job.”

Mrs May will leave the summit on Thursday evening and is not expected to discuss Brexit. The other 27 leaders are expected to use Friday’s informal meeting to discuss the next summit in Rome on 25 March, which will celebrate the EU’s 60th anniversary.

A government source suggested Mrs May – who plans to trigger Article 50 this month – the mechanism that kick-starts the UK’s departure from the EU – will not be attending the Rome summit.

At the summit, Mrs May will call for more action to counter “Russian disinformation” and “raise the visibility” of Western commitment in the Western Balkans, where Moscow faces allegations of helping to plot a coup attempt in Montenegro.

She is also expected to push EU leaders for “immediate action” to deal with an expected rise in refugees and migrants making dangerous journeys to Europe across the Mediterranean as the weather improves.

9 March 2017 | 11:55 am

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