Legislation will be introduced “within days” to ensure the British Government can stick to its timetable of triggering the process of leaving the European Union by the end of March, Brexit Secretary David Davis has told British MPs.
Mr Davis said the Government’s defeat in a historic court battle over Brexit in the Supreme Court would not derail Theresa May’s timetable to kick off the two-year process of withdrawal negotiations.
He said the Supreme Court ruling did not affect the fact Britain will be leaving the EU in line with the result of the 2016 referendum, telling MPs: “There can be no turning back.
“The point of no return was passed on June 23 last year.”
By a majority of eight to three, judges at the Supreme Court rejected the Government’s argument the British Prime Minister could use prerogative powers to kick off the talks under Article 50, ruling instead it must first seek Parliament’s approval.
In a statement to the UK’s House of Commons, Mr Davis said this would be done by means of “the most straightforward Bill possible to give effect to the decision of the people and respect the Supreme Court’s judgment”.
The purpose of the bill will be “simply to give the Government the power to invoke Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the European Union”, he said.
He added: “Parliament will rightly scrutinise and debate this legislation but I trust no-one will seek to make it a vehicle for attempts to thwart the will of the people or frustrate or delay the process of exiting the European Union.”
Mr Davis said: “This is not about whether or not the UK should leave the EU.
“That decision has already been made by the people of the United Kingdom.
“We will work with colleagues in both Houses to ensure this Bill is passed in good time for us to invoke Article 50 by the end of March.”
With Labour declaring it will not frustrate the invocation of Article 50, there was little doubt the Prime Minister can get a bill through Parliament.
But she risks having her hands tied in negotiations by any conditions inserted by MPs into the legislation, with the Scottish National Party declaring it will table 50 “serious and substantive” amendments.