Theresa May to be given the power to trigger Article 50 after the Brexit bill passes

LONDON — Theresa May is to be given the power to trigger Article 50 — the two-year formal process by which Britain will leave the EU — after both houses of parliament vote to pass the Brexit bill unamended.

MPs overturned two amendments to the Brexit bill that would have protected the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and ensured that Parliament had a “meaningful vote” on the Brexit at the end of the Article 50 process.

The Lords were set to accept the Commons’ decision on Monday night, paving the way for Prime Minister May meet her timetable and invoke Article 50 by the end of March.

Despite talk of a potential Tory rebellion, both amendments were rejected with comfortable majorities.

Just two Tory MPs rebelled on the issue of EU citizens rights and none on the issue of a final vote. Six Labour rebels joined with the Conservatives to vote down both amendments.

Brexit minister David Davis insisted that the government’s verbal promise to protect the residence rights of EU citizens in the UK was “binding” and rendered that particular amendment unnecessary.

“When a minister gives an undertaking at this despatch box it is binding commitment,” Davis told MPs during a debate on the issue of whether the rights of EU citizens would be guaranteed.

Just two Tory MPs rebelled on the issue of EU citizens rights and none on the issue of a final vote. Six Labour rebels joined with the Conservatives to vote down both amendments.

Earlier in the day, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn failed to attend an “emergency rally” outside parliament after only around 100 supporters turned up to protest against the government’s refusal to accept the EU citizens amendment.

This is a developing story…

More from Business Insider UK:

NOW WATCH: The EU’s top negotiator explains how he thinks Article 50 is going to work

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.