(Updates to reflect that debate has ended)
LONDON Feb 6 British lawmakers on Monday
rejected the first set of proposed amendments to legislation
that would give Prime Minister Theresa May the right to notify
the European Union of Britain's intention to leave the bloc.
During seven hours of debate, lawmakers voted against a
series of attempts by pro-EU lawmakers to attach extra
conditions to May's plan to begin divorce talks by March 31.
Monday's votes were on the issues of parliamentary scrutiny
of the withdrawal process and the involvement of Britain's
Further votes, on which the government could face greater
opposition, are due to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Earlier on Monday, May warned lawmakers not to obstruct the
will of the British people with amendments to her Brexit
legislation, saying she wanted to get on with divorce talks with
"Our European partners now want to get on with the
negotiations, so do I, and so does this house," May told
parliament before the debate began.
"The message is clear to all, this house has spoken and now
is not the time to obstruct the democratically expressed wishes
of the British people. It is time to get on with leaving the
May has said she expects to win approval from lawmakers in
time to stick to her end of the March deadline for triggering
Britain's exit from the EU.
On Tuesday lawmakers will continue their scrutiny of the
legislation, debating amendments on the final terms of Britain's
withdrawal from the EU as well as those calling for the
publication of assessments on the impact of Brexit.
The bill is expected to complete its passage through the
lower House of Commons on Wednesday. It will then be passed to
the upper House of Lords.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, Elizabeth Piper and William
James; Editing by Matthew Lewis)