Brexit Bill Passes First Hurdle in Parliament

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

British lawmakers have voted a key Brexit bill past its first big hurdle in Parliament — but many are vowing to change legislation that they brand a government power grab before it becomes law.

The House of Commons backed the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill with a 326-to-290 vote early Tuesday.

The bill aims to convert thousands of EU laws and regulations into U.K. domestic laws when Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.

The Conservative government argues that without it, Brexit will descend into chaos. But the opposition says it gives the government unprecedented powers to amend laws without parliamentary scrutiny.

Opposition lawmakers, backed by some Conservatives, say they will try to amend the bill at the next stage, when it receives line-by-line scrutiny before facing a final vote.