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Government publishes the 'Article 50'​ bill

Before today, the shortest Act of Parliament was the 1918 statute that granted women the right to become Members of Parliament.

And, despite expectation to the contrary, the 1918 Act retains the record after the Government published the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill today - the statute that, if passed by Parliament, will trigger Article 50 and the UK's two-year exit from the EU. The new Bill says simply:

• (1) The Prime Minister may notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom's intention to withdraw from the EU.

• (2) This section has effect despite any provision made by or under the European Communities Act 1972 or any other enactment."

With MPs from all parties queuing up to propose amendments and delay the Bill's progress (and, thereby, the entire Brexit process), the Government has chosen an extremely simple Bill that offers very little room for debate. Nevertheless, that debate will happen in Parliament on Tuesday 31st January and Wednesday 1st February, with a third day scheduled for Wednesday 8th February, after which MPs will vote on the Bill.

Despite vocal opposition from 'Remain' MPs, the Government remains confident that it will win the Parliamentary vote, which will then see the Bill head off to the House of Lords ... which could be another story entirely.


These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.

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