The UK government is to table an Article 50 bill in Parliament on Thursday (26 January 2017), just two days after Theresa May lost a landmark case at the Supreme Court, Number 10 has confirmed. The top justices ruled eight to three that MPs and peers should have a vote on triggering the mechanism to split from the EU.
Brexit secretary David Davis told the House of Commons on Tuesday that the "simple" draft legislation would come "within days". The senior Conservative also stated the Article 50 bill would be as "straightforward as possible" so that the "decision of the people" is respected.
The bill is expected to pass through the Commons after MPs voted 461 to 89 in favour of May's Brexit timetable. The PM has promised to invoke Article 50 by the end of March.
But the draft legislation could be delayed in the House of Lords, where Labour and the Liberal Democrats have more than 300 peers.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn plans to table an amendment to the Article 50 bill to "prevent the Conservatives using Brexit to turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven off the coast of Europe".
"Labour will seek to build in the principles of full, tariff-free access to the single market and maintenance of workers' rights and social and environmental protections," a spokesman for the left-winger said. "Labour is demanding a plan from the government to ensure it is accountable to parliament throughout the negotiations and a meaningful vote to ensure the final deal is given parliamentary approval."
The Liberal Democrats, SNP and Green Party have also promised to vote the Article 50 bill down amid warnings of a so called "hard Brexit".
May also committed to publishing a white paper on her Brexit plans after being pressured over the issue by Labour and Conservative MPs. But the prime minister refused to reveal when the paper will be published. "In his reference to the timing issue, these are actually two separate issues," May told Corbyn. "The House has overwhelmingly voted that the Article  should be triggered before the end of March 2017.
"Following the Supreme Court judgement, a bill will be provided for this House and there will be the proper debates in this chamber and in the other place [House of Lords] on that bill. There is then the separate question of actually publishing the plan I have set out, a 'bold vision for Britain for the future', I will do that in a white paper."
- Government will provide certainty and clarity to politicians and businesses
- UK will 'control our own laws' by quitting the European Court of Justice
- Strengthen the 'precious union' between England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland
- There will be no 'hard border' between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
- UK will 'control' EU immigration, while recruiting the 'brightest and the best' from around the world
- Government will seek a reciprocal residency rights deal for EU and UK workers "as soon as possible"
- To protect workers' rights
- Ministers will seek a 'bold' and 'comprehensive' free trade agreement with the EU
- UK will seek a customs agreement so that it can broker its own trade deals with non-EU nations
- Maintain European science and innovation ties in bid to keep the UK a 'world leader'
- UK will continue to work with the EU to combat the threat of terrorism
- Ministers will seek to avoid a 'cliff edge' and seek a smooth split from the EU