UK preparing Article 50 draft bill

Wesrminster bridge, near Parliament. [ESB Professional/Shutterstock]

The British government is preparing legislation to trigger the procedure to leave the EU, Sky News reported today (7 November), despite Prime Minister Theresa May saying she is confident of overturning a court decision that may delay Brexit.

May’s plans to start the formal divorce procedure from the European Union by the end of March were dealt a blow last week when England’s High Court ruled that her government must seek parliamentary approval for triggering Article 50.

UK government defeated in Article 50 court case

The UK’s High Court has ruled against Theresa May’s government on whether parliamentary approval is needed to trigger Article 50, in a decision that could have devastating consequences for the prime minister’s Brexit plans.

The prime minister is determined to carry out what she calls “the will of the people” and her aides have declined to comment on whether ministers are making contingency plans after the ruling, saying only that they are confident of winning an appeal.

Sky News quoted sources as saying the government was preparing a bill – legislation that will have to be considered in both houses of parliament in what could be a lengthy process.

A spokeswoman for May did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

May’s focus on ensuring the government has the lead on breaking with the European Union has angered some lawmakers, prompting one of her ruling Conservative party MPs to resign last week and deepening splits laid bare in the June EU referendum.

But while those who campaigned to stay in the European Union hope the court decision will soften the divorce terms for Britain, pro-Brexit campaigners and Britain’s eurosceptic newspapers have attacked the judges for what they called a betrayal of the vote.

On Sunday (6 November), May expressed support for Britain’s judiciary and the press but insisted she would lead the country out of the EU.

“While others seek to tie our negotiating hands, the government will get on with the job of delivering the decision of the British people,” May said in a statement before leaving on a trade visit to India.

May in India for post-Brexit trade deal 'talks', amid visas squabble

Prime Minister Theresa May is in India – Britain’s former colony – for a three-day trip aimed at putting out feelers for a post-Brexit bilateral trade deal.

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