Full steam ahead! Queen set to sign Brexit into LAW TODAY as May set to trigger Article 50

Full steam ahead! Queen set to sign Brexit into LAW TODAY as May set to trigger Article 50

THE Queen was poised to sign Britain’s Brexit into law as early as this morning, it emerged yesterday as Parliament prepared to pass the crucial legislation to put last year’s historic referendum vote into action.

ALISON LITTLE, DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR

A copy of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill was set to be raced to Buckingham Palace for the monarch to give her Royal Assent – possibly at her desk after breakfast when she customarily deals with official papers.

But Theresa May confounded predictions she would today exercise the power newly conferred on her by the legislation to trigger up to two years of formal exit talks with the EU.

The Prime Minister is now expected to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty towards the end of the month – just before her self-imposed deadline of March 31.

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Queen set to sign Brexit into law as May prepares to trigger Article 50

But MPs can grill her on her plans today in the Commons when she reports back on last Thursday’s EU summit in Brussels.

The 137-word Bill due to clear its last Parliamentary hurdles last night was required by Supreme Court judges before Mrs May could invoke Article 50.

It cleared the Commons unamended last month but yesterday returned to MPs as the Government urged them to overturn two amendments made by the House of Lords.

In an early victory for Mrs May, MPs voted to defeat both amendments – sending the Bill back to the Lords for peers to consider their response.

Peers had sought to add onto the Bill a promise that the Government would within three months of Article 50 being invoked spell out guarantees for the 3.2 million EU nationals already living in Britain.

The Commons defeated that change by 335 votes to 287, Government majority 48, with two Tory rebels joining Labour and other parties, after Brexit Secretary David Davis pledged to seek to resolve the issue as soon as possible in formal talks.

But the UK should not offer the guarantee until the around one million Britons on the Continent got similar protection and the EU had refused to consider the matter until Mrs May invoked Article 50, he said.

MPs then voted down, by 331 votes to 286, Government majority 45 – with no Tory MPs voting against the Government – the Lords amendment to put into law both Mrs May’s promise to give Parliament a vote on her final EU deal – and a guarantee of a vote for Parliament if she does not strike a deal and plans to take Britain out without one.

Mrs May has said that no deal is better than a bad deal.

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