Theresa May’s government on Thursday presented to parliament draft legislation to enable Britain to begin its divorce from the European Union.
The prime minister hopes the bill, to be initially debated next week, will clear the lower and upper houses by the end of March. That is her self-imposed deadline to invoke Article 50 – the exit clause of the bloc’s Lisbon Treaty.
A UK Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday forced Mrs May to seek parliament’s approval, rejecting the government’s argument that it could do so unilaterally.
“The British people have made the decision to leave the EU and this government is determined to get on with the job of delivering it,” Brexit Minister David Davis said in a statement.
“I trust that parliament, which backed the referendum by six to one, will respect the decision taken by the British people and pass the legislation quickly.”
The bill will now be debated for two days next week, on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, the government said.
It is then expected to progress to a further debate stage, lasting three days from Feb. 6 to Feb. 8.
Theresa May just published the Brexit Bill and it's only 8 lines long https://t.co/xPSZVjWY67— The Independent (@Independent) 26 janvier 2017
Two years of complex negotiations with Brussels will follow the triggering of Article 50, focussing on the terms of Britain’s exit and its new trading arrangements.
On Wednesday, May bowed to pressure and agreed to detail her plans for Brexit in a White Paper policy document.
Political foes, led by the main opposition Labour Party, are increasingly alarmed by her push for a clean break with the world’s largest trading bloc – setting a course for a so-called ‘hard Brexit’.
jeremycorbyn</a> pressed Theresa May on her Brexit plan, which threatens to turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven. RT ↓ <a href="https://t.co/CS80a2MikI">pic.twitter.com/CS80a2MikI</a></p>— The Labour Party (UKLabour) 25 janvier 2017