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The Latest: UK lawmakers pass roadblocks to no-deal Brexit

January 8, 2019
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Pro-Europe demonstrators protests outside parliament in London, Tuesday Jan. 8, 2019. The British government on Tuesday ruled out seeking an extension to the two-year period taking the country out of the European Union ahead of a crucial parliamentary vote next week on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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Pro-Europe demonstrators protests outside parliament in London, Tuesday Jan. 8, 2019. The British government on Tuesday ruled out seeking an extension to the two-year period taking the country out of the European Union ahead of a crucial parliamentary vote next week on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s impending departure from the European Union (all times local):

8:25 p.m.

Britain’s Parliament has dealt the government a narrow defeat by passing an amendment designed to put roadblocks in place to make a “no-deal” Brexit more difficult. 

Legislators on Tuesday backed an amendment to the Finance Bill that would prohibit spending on “no-deal” preparations unless authorized by Parliament.

The vote showed widespread opposition in Parliament to possible plans for a “no-deal” scenario under which Britain would leave the European Union on March 29 without a departure agreement in place.

There are fears this could lead to economic damage and widespread disruption.

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4:30 p.m.

London police say they have increased their presence outside Parliament after some 55 lawmakers complained about verbal abuse as the Brexit debate intensifies.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said officials recognize “the contentious issues that we have to police.” He said the goal is to balance the rights of protesters, journalists, and legislators.

He said Tuesday extra security measures have already been put in place.

Police acted after Conservative Party legislator Anna Soubry was repeatedly called a Nazi by protesters as she tried to discuss Brexit in a TV interview Monday.

Police say they are trying to determine if any crime was committed during that incident.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May says she told her Cabinet meeting “this is not how debate should be conducted in our country.”

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2:20 p.m.

Austria’s foreign minister says her country would allow Austrians in Britain the possibility of keeping their existing nationality alongside British citizenship if the U.K. leaves the European Union without a deal.

Austria only allows dual citizenship in very limited cases, and the Austria Press Agency reported that Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl said Tuesday Vienna will continue to restrict it in principle in the future. She said the government intends to exempt the roughly 25,000 Austrians living in Britain from the restriction, but didn’t give details.

Britain is due to leave the EU March 29. Prime Minister Theresa May faces an uphill battle to win parliamentary approval for a divorce agreement with the EU, with many lawmakers in London loathe, raising the possibility of a no-deal departure.

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11 a.m.

Some 55 British legislators have expressed safety concerns in a letter to London’s police chief after a lawmaker was verbally abused while discussing Brexit outside Parliament.

The letter was sent to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick late Monday night following the verbal assaults on Conservative Party legislator Anna Soubry.

The letter says there have been “months of peaceful and calm protests” by groups holding a wide variety of views on Brexit but that recently “an ugly element of individuals with strong far right and extreme right connections” have moved in.

There have been a number of recent incidents in the area outside Parliament where politicians routinely do live broadcast interviews.

Soubry was repeatedly called a Nazi by protesters while she was being interviewed by BBC.

Police say they are investigating to determine if any crimes were committed.

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10:40 a.m.

A British government minister working on the process of taking the country out of the European Union says the government will not seek to extend the two-year period in which its departure must happen.

Britain leaves the EU on March 29, when the EU treaty’s Article 50 governing the procedure times out, but the U.K. parliament still has not endorsed Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

May can request an extension, but all 27 other EU countries must agree, and the bloc’s leaders said last month that they would want good reasons to prolong it.

Britain’s minister of state for exiting the EU, Martin Callanan, said in Brussels Tuesday that “Article 50 will not be extended. We are leaving the EU on the 29th of March this year.”

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