The Queen grants the Brexit bill royal assent paving the way for the PM to trigger Article 50 in a “defining moment” for the UK.
The Prime Minister is free to officially notify the EU that the UK intends to leave after the Queen granted the Brexit bill royal assent.
Following a turbulent passage through both houses and a drawn out court battle, Theresa May is expected to take the historic step of starting the process of leaving the 40-year union.
Speaking in the House of Commons at the beginning of the week, Mrs May said she would trigger Article 50 “before the end of the month” and it is expected she will do so in the last week of March.
The Prime Minister has described it as a “defining moment” for the country but the negotiations that will take place with the EU over the next two years promise to be bitter and bloody.
Key players on both sides will now need to set to work thrashing out a Brexit deal alongside a free trade deal that will govern the UK’s future relationship with the remaining 27 members of the EU.
One of the first things expected to be brought to the negotiating table is the bill the UK will have to pay to get out of the exit door – put at €60bn by the European Commission but unlikely to be agreed by the Government.
Talks between the two sides are not likely to begin in earnest until June. The EU must issue a formal response to Mrs May’s formal Article 50 notification and then will need around eight weeks to draw up the full guidelines.
The remaining EU 27 members will then need to formally issue a list of negotiating topics and red lines – the earliest they are expected to decide this is at an extraordinary summit in early May.
The bill’s passing into law follows a difficult day for the Government on Wednesday in which ministers were accused of “driving towards a cliff-edge with a blindfold on”.
Brexit Secretary David Davis was forced to admit his department has not made an assessment of the economic implications of failure to secure an agreement with the rest of the EU.
His admission was despite the Prime Minister repeatedly saying she thinks no deal is better than a bad deal.
More information at: news.sky.com
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