Last night, the UK Parliament passed the the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, authorising the Government to trigger Article 50, which will formally begin the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
In the words of the Bill:
“1. The Prime Minister may notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.
2.This section has effect despite any provision made by or under the European Communities Act 1972 or any other enactment.”
The Bill had previously been approved in the above form by the House of Commons on 9 February 2017. However, the House of Lords subsequently voted in favour of two amendments:
- guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens that are legally resident in the UK; and
- for Parliament to have a vote on the outcome of negotiations with the EU. The Government had earlier agreed that Parliament would be given the opportunity to vote on any final deal between the UK and the EU on the terms of Brexit, but this had not been included in the terms of the Bill.
The proposed amendments were rejected when the Bill returned to the House of Commons yesterday and the House of Lords consequently approved the Bill in its original unamended form.
This now paves the way for the Prime Minister to give notice under Article 50, which is expected to be done before the end of the month.