LONDON — Britain’s exit from the EU could be triggered within weeks as the UK government attempts to rush through a bill authorising Brexit.
Government sources have told Business Insider that ministers will publish a “straightforward” bill tomorrow which once passed would authorise Article 50, the two-year process by which Britain leaves the EU.
The prime minister is expected to resist calls from across the house at Prime Minister’s Questions today to publish a full ‘white paper’ which would set out the government’s negotiating strategy for Brexit.
She is instead expected to publish a simple one-line bill designed to minimise the ability of MPs to amend or delay the bill’s progress.
If successful, ministers could force the bill through by early to mid-March, weeks earlier than originally promised.
However, such plans could be thwarted given commitments by Labour and the SNP to seek to submit significant amendments to the bill.
The SNP’s Brexit spokesperson Alex Salmond said yesterday that the party would submit 50 amendments seeking to prevent a ‘hard Brexit’. Labour also plans to submit amendments guaranteeing “privileged single market access” and protections to workers’ rights and environmental protections.
The Liberal Democrats and the Greens are preparing to vote against whatever bill is put forward by May. Lib Dem leader Tim Farron told the Today programme this morning that his party would vote against the bill unless the government agrees to holding a referendum on the terms of the UK’s final Brexit deal.
Under the plans, the public would be given the option of either accepting May’s deal or remaining within the EU. A spokesperson for the prime minister yesterday dismissed holding any such referendum.
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