By a majority of 48, MPs have refused to protect unilaterally the rights of EU nationals living in the UK. The vote on Monday evening allows Theresa May to negotiate over the rights of EU nationals in the UK, in exchange for the rights of British citizens in the EU.

The House of Lords had amended the government’s Brexit bill to demand that EU and EEA citizens and their family members who are legally resident in the EU “continue to be treated in the same way”, despite the Brexit vote.

That was rejected by 335 votes to 287. The debate featured an impassioned plea by former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, who cited his Dutch mother and Spanish wife as examples as those affected by the uncertainty.

Downing Street has ruled out triggering Article 50, the EU’s formal exit clause, on Tuesday, saying that notification will not come until the last week of March.

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