May is planning to trigger Article 50 in 2 weeks despite the Brexit bill defeat in the House of Lords

Theresa May. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/ Getty Images.

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May sticking to her plan to trigger Article 50 in two weeks time despite a major defeat from the House of Lords on the rights of EU citizens to live and work in the UK post-Brexit.

Triggering Article 50 will start the formal two-year negotiation process of Britain leaving the European Union, following last year’s Brexit vote.

Late on Wednesday, House of Lords peers defeated the government by 358 votes to 256 — a 102 vote majority — on an amendment to the bill triggering Brexit.

The amendment to the bill requires the government to guarantee the existing rights of EU citizens currently in the UK to live and work here, even after Britain leaves the EU.

Despite the defeat, May is still aiming to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, according to Conservative party whips cited by The Telegraph.

Former Conservative chancellor Lord Lamont criticised the Lords vote and said: “I think they are doing a disservice to the national interest. You shouldn’t be imposing conditions [on the Government]. I hope that it will be rejected by the Commons and sent back here. If that is not the end of the matter I think the Lords will be playing with fire.”

On March 13 and March 14, parliament will debate whether or not to keep the changes in the amended Brexit Bill.

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