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Royal assent paves the way for Brexit

16 March 2017

The Queen has this morning signed into law the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill which was passed by MPs and peers on Monday.

The new legislation grants the Prime Minister the power to formally notify Brussels that the UK will be leaving the EU, thereby beginning the two-year exit negotiation process.

Theresa May has said that she will invoke Article 50, the mechanism for the UK’s EU withdrawal, by the end of the month. May’s proposed timeline avoids a clash with next week’s informal EU summit.

Although royal assent has been granted, the House of Lords is preparing further challenges to the Government’s Brexit plans with Labour tabling two new motions this morning:

  • The first seeks to force ministers to provide an update on EU citizens’ rights by the end of the Parliamentary session
  • The second calls for a Joint Committee of Lords and Commons to be created to ‘consider and report on the terms and options for any votes in Parliament on the outcome of the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union’

The date on which Article 50 is triggered might serve as a cut-off date after which new EEA migrants to the UK will not be eligible for full freedom of movement rights. However, Amber Rudd assured peers late last month that EU migrants' rights will not change without Parliament’s approval.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Andrew Osborne or the immigration team member you work with.

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