UK Brexit Bill to Proceed to Royal Assent in Coming Days - May

Prime Minister Theresa May has said for months that she would invoke Article 50 of the EU's key treaty, the trigger for two years of exit negotiations, by March 31.

A May spokesman said Monday that she is not likely to make that move until the end of this month.The exit process is expected to take about two years as British and European Union officials negotiate exactly how to unwind the governmental and economic partnerships that come with European Union membership.

The prime minister can now legally declare the United Kingdom is beginning the two-year process to leave the European Union as soon as the Queen signs the bill in law - which could happen as soon as tomorrow.

But the final showdown is likely to be rather low-key event: in the House of Commons only a handful of Conservative MPs appear to be gearing up to oppose the Government or abstain in the vote on the bill, which means it should leave the lower chamber unamended.

If Britain fails to secure a deal with the European Union within two years, Britain will still leave the European Union but the precise terms of its exit deal might be decided by the courts.

"We remain on track with the timetable I set out six months ago", Mrs May said, referring to her promise to trigger Article 50 by the end of March.

The European Commission signaled this week that it won't drag its heels once May triggers Article 50 and will be ready to give ministers negotiating drafts without delay.


She has revealed little of her strategy for Brexit negotiations but has a long wish list - wanting to win a free trade deal, maintain security cooperation, regain control over immigration and restore sovereignty over British laws.

May told MPs on Tuesday that the Brexit bill will be signed by the Crown Office in the next few days and then announced to both houses of Parliament in order to officially complete its passage into legislation. "People all over Europe can see how risky it is to take the European Union into question", he said.

Meanwhile, Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that she will be seeking the Parliament's permission to hold a referendum on Scotland's independence from the UK.

But it realised one of her biggest fears about Brexit and opened up a second battlefront as she prepares for two years of tough negotiations with the EU.

It had been predicted that she might do it as soon as Tuesday, so that the EU-27 could get together before the Easter break and agree on the guidelines for the negotiations.

The PM, who is considering how to respond to the demand for a referendum, said she had been in discussions with all the devolved administrations and criticised "constitutional game-playing with the future of the United Kingdom". "A "no deal" scenario would open a Pandora's Box of economic consequences", said Paul Drechsler, president of the Confederation of British Industry, in a recent speech in London.

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