Members of Parliament in the House of Commons have today begun the first of two days of Parliamentary debate on the Notification of Withdrawal from the European Union bill, or as its more commonly known: The Brexit Bill.
Debates will take place today and tomorrow, with a vote on whether to send the legislation to the next stage tomorrow evening.
Once the legislation passes this stage, Prime Minister Theresa May will publish a White Paper which summarises the governments position on Brexit.
The bill will begin its committee stage in the Commons, which gives MP’s an opportunity to take another look at it and potentially revise it. They can try to change the bill by pushing through amendments to the document, although it is unlikely any will pass without the support of a high number of rebel Tory MP’s.
At the end of the committee stage, MP’s will get another chance to debate the bill, followed by a final vote.
It is highly likely that Parliament will vote in favour of adopting the bill, with it being passed to the House of Lords for a secondary debate and vote by its members. If no amendments are proposed and the vote is passed then the bill will be passed to the Queen to receive royal assent.
It is only then that the bill becomes enshrined in UK law.
Secretary of State for exiting the EU, David Davis made a short statement in Parliament in which he called upon MP’s to “honour their side of the agreement” following the referendum result and pass the bill. He said voters “will view any attempt to halt its progress dimly”.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer says the House has a short and “simple bill” to discuss, “but for the Labour Party this a very difficult bill.”
“We’re a fiercely internationalist party,” he says. “We’re a pro-European party.”
Labour campaigned to remain in the EU “but we failed to persuade: we lost the referendum”.
Former Cabinet Office minister Sir Oliver Letwin has said that tomorrows vote on the bill is “one of the most important that we will ever take in the House” but he will vote “because the will of the people, in the end, has been expressed”
Labour MP Meg Hillier has said that she will vote against the bill saying “I cannot walk blindly through a lobby to give a trigger to a process without a shred of detail from the government”.
In other news MP’s also confirmed that they would debate a recent petition calling for the cancellation of a state visit by US President Donald Trump.
The petition, which began over the weekend has gained over 1.7 million signatures, well over the 100,000 required for a parliamentary debate.
It follows widespread condemnation of Mr Trump’s immigration policies, in which individuals from seven predominantly Muslim nations are being refused entry to the USA for a period of up to 120 days.
A similar petition, which calls for the state visit to proceed will also be debated in the Parliamentary debate after reaching over 100,000 signatures.
The debate will take place on 20th February.