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Theresa May could formally trigger Brexit as early as Tuesday after European leaders revealed that they are already making preparations for an announcement.

Ministers are increasingly confident that Mrs May's Article 50 bill could clear both the Commons and the Lords on Monday.

The swift passage of the legislation would clear the way for Mrs May to trigger Brexit negotiations in the Commons on Tuesday.

Theresa May could trigger Article 50 as early as Tuesday after EU leaders begin preparations for Brexit


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Steven Swinford (external - login to view), Deputy Political Editor
10 March 2017
The Telegraph

Theresa May could formally trigger Brexit as early as Tuesday after European leaders revealed that they are already making preparations for an announcement (external - login to view).

Ministers are increasingly confident that Mrs May's Article 50 bill (external - login to view) could clear both the Commons and the Lords on Monday.

The swift passage of the legislation would clear the way for Mrs May to trigger Brexit negotiations in the Commons on Tuesday.

Cabinet ministers are privately pressing Mrs May to "get on with Brexit" and trigger Article 50 "as soon as possible", The Telegraph understands.

The announcement would help Mrs May move the debate away from Philip Hammond's Budget.

Downing Street has said that Article 50 will be triggered by the end of the month but refused to commit to a date.

It came as Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, said that EU leaders are prepared to respond within 48 hours of Mrs May triggering Brexit.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, confirmed that if Mrs May invokes Article 50 next week an "extraordinary meeting" of the remaining 27 members of the EU will be held on April 6.

It comes after the Government was defeated in the House of Lords on two amendments to the Article 50 bill.

One of them guaranteed the rights of EU migrants living in the UK, while the other said that Parliament should be given a "meaningful vote" on the final Brexit deal.

The Government will oppose both amendments in the Commons on Monday, and could face a rebellion by up to 20 Tory MPs.

However, Tory whips are increasingly confident that they can win over many of the rebels by giving assurances on the timetable of the deal.

The legislation will then pass to the Lords, where Labour sources indicated that the party's peers are prepared to give way gracefully.

The Article 50 bill could pass on Monday night, enabling Mrs May to formally trigger Brexit as early as Tuesday.

Mr Tusk said : "When the UK notifies, it is our goal to react with the draft negotiation guidelines for the 27 Member States to consider.

For this I think we need more or less 48 hours. Leaders will then meet, probably in April, to finalise these. But as for now we are still waiting for the UK to trigger."

Theresa May could trigger Article 50 as early as Tuesday after EU leaders begin preparations for Brexit (external - login to view)