The British government has published a draft law that would enable Prime Minister Theresa May to begin the process of leaving the European Union.
David Davis, the Brexit minister, began seeking parliamentary approval on Thursday by publishing draft legislation and introducing it to parliament – initial stages of the normal legal process, which will see both chambers of parliament scrutinise the bill.
“The British people have made the decision to leave the EU and this government is determined to get on with the job of delivering it,” Davis said in a statement.
“I trust that parliament, which backed the referendum by six to one, will respect the decision taken by the British people and pass the legislation quickly.”
The move came days after the country’s Supreme Court ruled that May must seek parliamentary approval to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, rejecting the government’s argument that it could do so unilaterally.
The ruling was not expected to derail May’s plans to invoke Article 50 by the end of March, which will start two years of complex negotiations with the EU on the terms of Britain’s exit and its new trading arrangements.
Opposition parties have said that they will try to amend the legislation to make the government reveal more details of its Brexit plans.
The bill will now be debated for two days next week, on January 31 and February 1, the government said.
It is then expected to progress to a further debate stage, lasting three days from February 6 to February 8.
If approved by both houses of the British parliament, the bill would then have to be signed off by Queen Elizabeth II before May can trigger the formal process for leaving the bloc.
A majority of British voters decided to leave the EU in a referendum in June last year.
May recently announced that the country would have a clean break from the bloc and reject anything that “leaves us half-in, half-out”.
She said the UK would leave the EU’s single market, but would “seek greatest possible access to it”.