The Government has won two key votes in the Lords – making Britain a step closer to Brexit. This means that Prime Minister Theresa May can formally trigger Article 50. The vote will allows Mrs May to start the firing gun on Brexit talks as early as Tuesday. However, ITV News’ Political Editor Robert Peston said he did not think Mrs May would trigger Article 50 until the end of March. The House of Lords had made two amendments to the Bill. Firstly introducing a “meaningful” vote on the final deal with Brussels. This would have given the Lords and Commons the opportunity to accept or reject – in two separate votes- the final deal Mrs May negotiates with the EU prior to the UK’s departure from the bloc. The second amendment called to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. But both were rejected by MPs and when the vote went back to peers they backed it.
MPs have overwhelmingly voted to overturn amendments to the Brexit bill made by peers and send the landmark legislation back to the House of Lords. They rejected calls for the government to protect the status of EU nationals within three months of the start of Brexit talks by 335 votes to 287. They then dismissed calls for Parliament to have a meaningful vote on any Brexit deal by 331 to 286 votes. The EU Withdrawal Bill will be passed later if the Lords back down. Both Houses of Parliament have to agree the text of the bill before it can be sent for Royal Assent and become law. Prime Minister Theresa May could then theoretically trigger Article 50, which formally starts the Brexit process, as early as Tuesday. However, Downing Street sources have said this will not happen this week and the PM is expected to wait until the end of the month to officially notify the EU of the UK’s intention to leave.