Britain published legislation on Thursday to sever political, financial and legal ties with the European Union, an important step towards Brexit but one which the opposition said it would challenge.
Reuters said the repeal bill is central to the government’s plan to exit the EU in 2019, disentangling Britain from more than 40 years of EU lawmaking on everything from finance to fisheries and repealing the treaty that first made Britain a member in 1972.
Its passage through parliament could make or break Theresa May’s future as prime minister. The election she called last month cost her an outright parliamentary majority and reopened the debate on the nature of Brexit, with Britain’s public spending watchdog now saying the government is not well prepared.
“It is one of the most significant pieces of legislation that has ever passed through parliament and is a major milestone in the process of our withdrawal from the European Union,” Brexit minister David Davis said in a statement.
The government also fleshed out its negotiating stance with the EU, publishing three position papers which underlined that Britain would quit nuclear body Euratom and leave the jursidiction of the European Court of Justice.
May faces a battle even within her own Conservative Party to stick to her plan of a clean break. Pro-Brexit lawmakers will give her little room for movement, while pro-Europeans are looking to soften the divorce terms.
Rebellion by either side could derail the legislation and test May’s ability to negotiate a compromise or find support from opposition parties. If she fails, her position could swiftly become untenable.