A bill granting the government power to begin the UK’s separation from the EU will be brought forward “within days” after yesterday’s landmark Supreme Court verdict on Article 50.
The Supreme Court justices yesterday ruled by eight to three that Prime Minister Theresa May needed the support of parliament to trigger Article 50, necessitating the bill. The decision also meant the government had lost its appeal to an earlier case relating to government sovereignty.
Setting out the government’s response to the verdict, Brexit secretary David Davis vowed to rapidly bring legislation before MPs, stressing that the government remains committed to launching Brexit negotiations by the end of March.
Davis said the Bill, which could be introduced as soon as tomorrow, would be “straightforward” and solely focused on granting the government power to trigger Article 50.
And he warned MPs against tabling substantial amendments. The Scottish National Party has already laid out plans to table up to 50 fresh demands, including a boosted role for Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon.
“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 our exit from the European Union, “ Davis said.
Leave backer Dominic Raab told City A.M that Davis could bring forward a “short, sharp bill”.
“The country is strong supportive of the vision the PM has has set out,” Raab said.
“We need to stop the political nitpicking and rally behind the government so we can get the best possible deal for the country.”
A handful of Conservative MPs, including former attorney general Dominic Grieve, yesterday called for the government to publish a Brexit white paper, which would add further detail to a speech from May earlier this month, which committed the UK to pulling out of the Single Market.
Grieve told City A.M. that such a document could serve as “a reference point for the government's stated intentions”, and facilitate future debate in the House of Commons.
However, Ukip MP Douglas Carswell rubbished the proposal as “nonsense”.
“It's a tactic designed to allow an opportunity to pick holes in the process. The government just just now needs to get on with it. We have been debating this for months,” he said.
Yesterday's ruling stated that May had no obligation to consult regional parliaments with regard to triggering Article 50, strengthening her hand as she embarks on the process.
Sterling fell to lows of $1.2438 against the US dollar in the immediate aftermath of the ruling but ended the day flat against the US currency.