UK ministers expect MPs to reject Brexit Bill changes

UK ministers believe MPs will reject the two changes made to the Brexit Bill in the House of Lords during a second debate today

13 March 2017, 8:04am
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to trigger Brexit this week by formally informing the European Union of Britain's intention to leave the bloc
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to trigger Brexit this week by formally informing the European Union of Britain's intention to leave the bloc
The legislation empowering UK Prime Minister Theresa May to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty returns to parliament for its final stages on Monday as European capitals prepare for mammoth negotiations.

May is expected to trigger Brexit this week, formally informing the European Union of Britain's intention to leave the bloc.

The House of Commons wanted to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK and ensure Parliament has a vote on any deal.

However, ministers believe MPs will reject the two changes made to the EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Lords when they debate it for the second time.

The Bill could win final approval by both Houses by Monday evening, leaving May's path clear to begin Brexit whenever she wants.

If MPs do reject the amendments, Parliament could sit through the night to try to reach an agreement, and time has also been set aside on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Once it is agreed, the bill will go for Royal Assent, after which May can formally tell the rest of the EU that she is ready to start negotiating.

The Prime Minister promised months ago to invoke Article 50, starting the two-year withdrawal process, by the end of March.

Last week she expressed her impatience, telling reporters at a Brussels summit: "Our European partners have made clear to me that they want to get on with the negotiations, and so do I."

Once May has notified the EU of her decision by letter, the other 27 EU leaders will take some 48 hours to issue their first draft proposal for the negotiations but talks are not actually expected to begin for months as both sides finalise strategies.