In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this week, the UK government has published the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill to authorise Brexit. According to an article in the Financial Times, David Davis, the Brexit secretary, said he hoped parliament would “pass the legislation quickly”. Theresa May, the Prime Minister, had previously stated that she wished for the legislation to pass through parliament promptly to trigger Article 50 in late March as originally proposed. The Bill is due to enter the House of Lords in the week commencing 20 February 2017 meaning that, subject to any delays, legislation should receive Royal Assent on 13 March 2017. Opposition MPs have complained that they do not have enough time to fully debate the legislation and some backbench Labour MPs have accused Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour party, of “capitulating” to the government by agreeing to the swift timetable. There will be only five days of debate in the House of Commons on the Brexit bill. Mr Corbyn, who voted to remain in the EU, wants his MPs to back the bill to respect the result of last year’s EU referendum in which Leave won by 52 to 48 per cent and has stated that he would force his colleagues to vote for Brexit through a strict “three-line whip”. In the meantime, the government is drawing up a separate “white paper” setting out the government’s plans for Brexit in greater detail as a result of continued pressure from MPs.
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