- Queen to formally sign the Article 50 bill into law in 'days'
- Brexit Bill passes through Parliament without amendments
- Spain says independent Scotland would be at back of EU queue
- 'Seven new Brexit bills' must be passed after Article 50 is triggered
- Theresa May rules out 'divisive' independence referendum before Brexit
- Scottish First Minister has vowed to hold second referendum
- PM to address the Commons at 12:30
Theresa May has said Britain is braced for a "defining moment" as it leaves the European Union, as she warned Nicola Sturgeon now is "not the time to play politics or create uncertainty".
The Prime Miniser was barracked by MPs as she told the House of Commons she had been "working closely" with the Scottish Government on preparations for Brexit.
In a swipe at Ms Sturgeon's plans for an independence referendum, Mrs May told the Commons: "This is not a moment to play politics or create uncertainty.
"It is a moment to bring our country together, to honour the will of the British people and to shape for them a better, brighter future and a better Britain."
It came as Ruth Davidson warned the First Minister's position on Scottish membership of the EU has "unravelled", after she failed to say the nation would remain a member of the European Union if it became independent.
The leader of the Scottish Conservatives warned that neither Ms Sturgeon or her ministers have given a firm commitment that Scotland would be able to remain a member after the UK leaves.
Lord Dunlop, the Government's Scotland Minister, called on MS Sturgeon to take the prospect of a referendum "off the table".
Speaking in the Lords he said there was "nothing more calculated" to frustrate good Brexit deal than another referendum.
Mrs May headed off a rebellion by pro-European Conservative MPs last night as the Government overturned attempts by the House of Lords to frustrate her plans for a clean Brexit.
Speaking this afternoon, Mrs May said the Government's Bill will get the Royal Assent in the coming days and she will come to the House to announce triggering of Article 50.
'Take referendum threat off the table'
There is an urgent question in the House of Lords on the possibility of a second independence referendum in Scotland.
Lord Dunlop, the Government's Scotland Minister, calls on Nicola Sturgeon to take the prospect of a referendum "off the table".
He says there was "nothing more calculated" to frustrate good Brexit deal than another referendum.
The peer accuses the Scottish Government of attempting to "undermine the achievement of a good deal" from the EU.
He says there is "overwhelming evidence" that Scottish people do not want another vote on independence.
And warns :
It would be divisive and cause huge econmic uncertainty.
Scotland Minister Lord Dunlop says "nothing more calculated" to frustrate good Brexit deal than another Scottish independence referendum— Esther Webber (@estwebber) March 14, 2017
Lord West, the Labour peer, suggests that if there is a referendum it should be held after Theresa May has secured a Brexit deal.
Baroness Liddell, another Labour peer, reveals that she has been told by a developer who says £50m was wiped off Scottish property market overnight- following the First Minister's announcement.
Labour peer Baroness Liddell has heard £50m worth of commercial property deals have collapsed overnight as a result of Sturgeon's statement— Josh May (@JoshMay_PH) March 14, 2017
PM accused of 'pretense'
Angus Robertson, the SNP leader in Westminster, has accused Theresa May of pretending to secure a UK-wide approach to Brexit.
The last time the prime minister came to the dispatch box from an EU Council meeting I asked her what issues she raised on behalf of the Scottish government and its priorities - she could not give a single example.
A year on, and given that this was the last EU Council before the triggering of article 50, the prime minister yet again failed to set out a single issue that was raised on behalf of Scotland or its priorities at the meeting.
Does the prime minister understand that this means the end of any pretence that she believes in a partnership of equals, it is an end to any claim of a respect agenda, it is an end to the credibility of a United Kingdom that listens and respects the different nations of the UK?
Scotland would be at the 'back of the queue'
Spain has suggested Scotland would be at the "back of the queue" to join the European Union if it achieves independence.
Madrid's foreign minister Alfonso Dastis played down the prospect of the country being fast-tracked into the EU.
According to Europa Press, Mr Dastis told reporters in Peru that an independent Scotland "can't just stay in the EU".
Dastis said Scotland:
Would have to queue, meet the requirements for entry, hold negotiations and the result would be that these negotiations would take place.
Pro-EU No voters look unlikely to change their minds on independence
In order to win a second referendum, Nicola Sturgeon will have to convince pro-EU, anti-independence Scots to vote against the status quo this time round, reports Ashley Kirk.
Polling shows that this is a huge challenge for the First Minister.
Most pro-EU No voters are still against independence, with just 12 per cent of them saying they'd now vote Yes. A further 14 per cent said they didn't know, while three quarters would still vote for the union.
The number that would swing to independence is actually outnumbered by those that would swing the other way. A quarter of those that that voted for Brexit and Scottish independence would now vote No.
PM rejects idea Brexit is a 'divorce'
The Prime Minister has rejected the term "divorce" to describe Brexit.
Often when people get divorced they don't have a good relationship afterwards.
The debate is now over.
Theresa May says that Brexit is not a "divorce" but building "a new relationship with the European Union".— Matthew Holehouse (@mattholehouse) March 14, 2017
'Leaping over the cliff like lemmings'
Richard Drax, a Tory MP, says the SNP are "leaping over the cliff like lemmings... to economic ruin".
Does the PM agree that the SNP are acting with recklessness and are leading Scotland over an economic cliff like lemmings?
The PM replies to his comments by insisting that the Government wants to secure the right deal for the whole of the UK.
PM will maintain Common Travel Area
Mark Durkan, the SDLP MP asks if the Common Travel Area and the Good Friday agreement would be included in future deals with the EU.
The PM replies that the Government will be looking to maintain the Common Travel Area.
'Staying in single market means staying in the EU'
Theresa May says the Government are seeking "a comprehensive free trade agreement" in place of membership of the single market.
She says that staying in the single market would mean staying in the EU, but that doesn't mean that Britain can't secure access.
The PM insists that membership of the single market means accepting free movement and ECJ jurisdiction.
Could UK be an associate member of the customs union?
Stella Creasy, the Labour MP, asks if Theresa May has asked if Britain could be an associate member of the customs union.
The PM says only that the idea will no doubt be raised during the negotiations.
PM said she wants associate membership of customs union. It doesn't exist. Will keep asking if she's asked EU about this until she answers!— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) March 14, 2017
'Scotland will be outside EU'
Theresa May says the Spanish government have made it clear that a brake away country cannot rejoin the EU quickly.
She says that Scotland will be left outside the EU if it votes for independence.
These are the rules according to the Barroso doctrine.
Labour MPs heckle one another..
Labour Brexiteer Kate Hoey tells Theresa May millions of Labour voters back her on Brexit.— Jack Maidment (@jrmaidment) March 14, 2017
Chuka Umunna heckles: "Not in Lambeth."
PM: Brexit remains on track and we'll trigger Article 50 as planned
May: Scottish people do not want second referendum
Theresa May insists that the evidence in Scotland is that the majority of Scottish people do not want a second independence referendum.
'An unwritten, unknown"Brexit deal'
Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader, asks whether the people will be given a chance to vote on the "unwritten, unknown" Brexit deal.
The PM says she eemembers a time when the Liberal Democrats were going out and telling the people they wanted an "in-out referendum."
Caroline Lucas, the only Green MP, asks the Government is using the Canada- EU deal as a blueprint.
But Mrs May says she wants a bespoke deal.
'Not right to have Irish unification referendum'
Nigel Dodds, the DUP MP, says many are calling for a border poll.
But Theresa May says it's "not right" to have Irish unification referendum "at this stage".
PM: 'I am optimistic'
Theresa May tells MPs:
I am optimistic that we are going to get a good deal on trade for the UK.
She says this negotiation is about what is right for all and a good trade deal for UK is a good trade deal for Europe.
'Most important single market for Scotland is single market of UK'
Angus Robertson, the SNP leader in the Commons, asks for a single example of an issue raised on behalf of the Scottish people when in Brussels?
He says the PM said she wouldn't trigger Article 50 until she had agreement from the devolved regions.
The Prime Minister insists that issues raised of importance to Scotland included "jobs, growth and competitiveness".
The most important single market for Scotland is the single market of the United Kingdom.
Andy Burnham, the Labour MP, asks:
Can I ask her to dither no more?
Government has taken legal advice on countering Brexit block
Sir Bill Cash, the Tory MP, asks if Theresa May will take legal advice on stopping legal attempts to frustrate Brexit.
She says the government has taken legal advice, but refuses to expand.
Bill Cash urges PM to take “urgent legal advice” after warnings that Brexit will end up back in the courts….— Rob Merrick (@Rob_Merrick) March 14, 2017
'No deal is a bad deal'
Jeremy Corbyn is now speaking on behalf of Labour.
He says now more than ever, Britain needs an "inclusive government" that listens and acts accordingly.
The Labour Leader says:
If you are going to protect jobs and working conditions, we must have tariff-free access to the Single Market.
When PM says no deal is better than a bad deal, let me be clear - no deal is a bad deal.
On EU nationals, he says:
These people are not bargaining chips. They’re mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, valued members of community.
May: It's not a time to play politics
The Prime Minister says the Government's Bill will get the Royal Assent in the coming days and she will come to the House to announce triggering of Article 50.
This will be a defining moment... we'll be a strong, self-governing Britain.
This deal will work for everyone - that's why we've been working closely with devolved government including the Scottish.
It's not a time to play politics, but to work together for this country.
Setting out the next steps in her plan, Mrs May said:
We remain on track with the timetable I set out six months ago, and I will return to this House before the end of this month to notify when I have formally triggered Article 50 and begun the process through which the UK will leave the European Union.
This will be a defining moment for our whole country as we begin to forge a new relationship with Europe and a new role for ourselves in the world.
We will be a strong, self-governing global Britain with control once again over our borders and our laws.
We will use this moment of opportunity to build a stronger economy and a fairer society, so that we secure both the right deal for Britain abroad and a better deal for ordinary working people at home.
Loud jeers from the SNP benches as Theresa May says she's working with "all parts" of the UK on Brexit— kateferguson (@kateferguson4) March 14, 2017
May: Britain will play leading role in Europe after Brexit
Theresa May is now giving her Commons statement on last week's EU summit.
She says the Summit began by re-electing President Tusk and she "was pleased because we have a good relationship with him".
The Prime Minister tells MPs:
We were able to show how Britain will show a leading role in Europe long after we've left EU.
She says she emphasised the importance of NATO - and tried to persuade others to spend more on armed forces.
Adding that the UK will seek new trade arrangements with "old friends and new allies alike".
Mrs May says Europe needs a better approach to migration and this will involve working with African countries.
Sturgeon: It is up to the Scottish Parliament to decide
Nicola Sturgeon has insisted that it should be up to the Scottish Parliament to determine the independence referendum's "timing, franchise and the question".
Speaking after a meeting of her senior ministerial team, Scotland's First Minister said:
Cabinet today agreed that the referendum must be for Scotland's national legislature to shape.
It should be up to the Scottish Parliament to determine the referendum's timing, franchise and the question.
Nicola Sturgeon Tweets...
Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson have become embroiled in a Twitter row about Theresa May.
Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Tories, said the First Minister was going "full Donald Trump" after she tweeted derisively about Theresa May's mandate.
A quick reminder:— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 14, 2017
Tory vote in GE2015 - 36.9%
SNP constituency vote in SP2016 - 46.5%
Trading mandates does not put PM on strong ground https://t.co/2RWDVJI40G
In addition, I was elected as FM on a clear manifesto commitment re #scotref. The PM is not yet elected by anyone.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) March 14, 2017
Responding to anonymous tittle-tattle by trading mandates over twitter? Goodness. Someone's gone the full Donald Trump....— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) March 14, 2017
Ministers meet for Cabinet
Sturgeon's position on Scottish membership of the EU has 'unravelled'
Nicola Sturgeon's position on Scottish membership of the EU has "unravelled", Ruth Davidson has warned, after the First Minister failed to say the nation would remain a member of the European Union if it became independent.
The leader of the Scottish Conservatives warned that neither Ms Sturgeon or her ministers have given a firm commitment that Scotland would be able to remain a member after the UK leaves.
It came amid significant warnings from the EU Commission and Nato chiefs that an independent Scotland would not automatically be able to keep its membership and would have to renegotiate.
Asked during a round of TV interviews this morning about how an independent Scotland could remain inside the union Ms Sturgeon said:
The SNP’s long standing policy and commitment has been to membership of the European Union.
Obviously we are in different circumstances now than we have been in the past, but that has been and remains our position.
But on this issue, as on all of the many other issues that people will want to consider in advance of a choice, I’ve said very clearly that we will set out our proposition in advance of that choice so that it is an informed choice.
But she was unable to state clearly that the nation would automatically be free to continue membership.
Ms Davidson, who is pro-union, warned the remarks show that the SNP is not able to promise Scotland would remain a member.
Sadiq Khan calls for interim deal
Sadiq Khan has warned MPs that leaving the European Union without a deal on future trade relations would mean "catastrophe" for Britain's vital service sector.
Giving evidence to the House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee, the Mayor of London said that business leaders were telling him that they wanted the Government to negotiate an "interim deal" to cover the period between Brexit and the introduction of a new trade relationship between the UK and EU.
And he warned that without reassurance of this kind, banks and financial institutions could move staff or headquarters to centres outside the EU like New York, Hong Kong, Singapore or Dubai.
I have had conversations in private with some in the sector who are worried.
They have got plans for the possibility of a deal not being done in two years. Those with a presence in Europe say it takes between a year and 18 months to get up and go. Others without a presence in a European city, it would take two years.
The point I make to colleagues around Europe is - don't assume hard Brexit benefits you, because if there is so-called hard Brexit, some of these banks and financial institutions won't go to Paris, Madrid, Brussels, Frankfurt - love them as we do - but New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai. So a hard Brexit doesn't benefit our European friends or London or the UK.
Farage: 'I'm concerned about the hesitancy'
Nigel Farage, has said he is "surprised" that Nicola Sturgeon's announcement "put the prime Minister" off triggering Article 50 this wee.
The former Ukip leader told Sky News:
It's been nine months since that joyous morning on June 24 when we realised that Brexit had won the referendum. Nine months - a full gestation - and still no delivery.
Of course I'm disappointed. I'm pleased that we are through all these hurdles, but I'm just a bit surprised that Nicola Sturgeon's announcement should have put the Prime Minister off.
Now that we are delaying the triggering of Article 50, what it means is that we will miss the summit of European leaders on April 6 at which Brexit could practicably have been discussed. Therefore, we've kicked it into the long grass until May.
I'm concerned about the hesitancy, but I'm also concerned at the concessions that appear to have been made already.
Last week in Brussels the talk was that the British were prepared to put fisheries on the table as a bargaining chip.
I'm worried about the commitment of this Government to actually get into line with what the British public asked for."
'We can't drift for the next two years'
Fiona Hyslop, Scotland's External Affairs Minister, said the country could not be allowed to "drift" for two years.
She told the BBC:
We have put forward compromises, we are trying to work with the UK Government, we have not had anything meaningful back.
We can't drift for the next two years, we have to provide strong political leadership and that's exactly what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has done.
Fiona Hyslop demanding "clarity" from the UK on Brexit, but can't say what currency an independent Scotland would use. #today— Kevin Schofield (@PolhomeEditor) March 14, 2017
Trade deal within two years is 'out of the question'
Theresa May's hope of securing a free trade agreement within the two-year Brexit deadline is "out of the question", a veteran Brussels insider has said.
Former European Commission vice president Viviane Reding said it was wishful thinking on the Prime Minister's part to believe that a trade agreement could be reached within the timeframe set out under the Article 50 process.
Ms Reding, an MEP for Luxembourg, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme:
Two years is out of the question. It is completely wishful thinking and unrealistic.
She also indicated that voters in Europe were "fed up" about Brexit and the issue was not a "top priority":
They are fed up, really fed up because they feel that a British problem is forced on us.
It is not our problem, Brexit, we have never asked for this. It is also not our priority. It seems to be the British top priority, it is certainly not a European top priority.
Nigel Farage Tweets...
After 9 months of delays, every obstacle to Article 50 has been removed. Can we now please get on with it!— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) March 13, 2017
'It would be economic suicide'
Anas Sarwar, a Senior Labour MSP , has warned this morning that leaving the UK would be "economic suicide" for Scotland, on top of the hit it already faces because of Brexit.
Mr Sarwar, a former deputy leader of Scottish Labour, insisted the "vast majority" of people in Scotland did not want another "divisive" referendum.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:
I accept that leaving the European Union is a bad thing for the United Kingdom and bad for Scotland.
But the reality is: yes, we are going to take an economic hit from leaving the European Union, but you don't overcome that economic hit by committing economic suicide with independence.
PM rules out 'divisive' independence referendum before Brexit
Theresa May has ruled out Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for a new Scottish independence referendum before Brexit, but postponed triggering Article 50 after the First Minister’s demands caught her by surprise.
In a day of high drama yesterday, Ms Sturgeon appeared to wrong-foot No 10 when she announced she would set the wheels in motion for a second referendum next week, and insisted the ballot should take place between autumn 2018 and spring 2019 – while the Brexit negotiations are still going on.
The Prime Minister issued a stern rebuke, telling her “politics is not a game”, and accusing her of “tunnel vision”.
'Seven new Brexit bills' must be passed
At least seven new bills will be required in key areas affected by Brexit, according to leaked Whitehall documents.
Legislation will need to be prepared to cover areas including tax, immigration and agriculture, the papers seen by the Times suggest.
Another six bills may also need to be passed to cover new arrangements for the UK’s future after exiting the EU.
The raft of legislation could provide further opportunities for MPs and peers to shape the terms of Britain’s departure from the bloc, potentially causing disruption within the tight two-year timetable after Article 50 is triggered.
The bills would be passed alongside the Great Repeal Bill, which will formally end the EU’s legislative supremacy in the UK.
The seven additional bills are reportedly designed to cover areas that require such a substantial movement away from the current position that they would not be able to be included within the Great Repeal Bill.
Sources told the Times that Downing Street was concerned about the number of Brexit bills requested, and is attempting to reduce the amount of legislation.
"Efforts are being made to see what can be done to adopt the current position and replicate EU structures in Britain," the source said.
They are said to cover immigration, tax, agriculture, trade and customs regimes, fisheries, data protection and sanctions - although a government source claimed the leaked list was out of date.
Queen expected to give royal assent
Last night Theresa May headed off a rebellion by pro-European Conservative MPs as the Government overturned attempts by the House of Lords to frustrate her plans for a clean Brexit.
MPs voted overwhelming to reject two House of Lords amendments that aimed to guarantee the rights of EU migrants and give Parliament a "meaningful vote" on the final deal with Brussels.
The Article 50 Bill is expected to receive royal assent from the Queen this morning.
The Queen and Prince Charles are asked to approve bills which relate to royal powers and interests of the Crown and Duchy of Cornwall.
It is understood the Bill will arrive for her to sign in her official red box, in which she receives documents and papers from government officials.
The House of Commons says the Queen can give Royal Assent in person but this has not happened since 1854 and the agreement to give assent to a Bill is merely a formality.
It had been widely anticipated that Mrs May would choose today to make the historic announcement.
However, Downing Street made the unexpected announcement last night that the Prime Minister will not now invoke Article 50 before March 27. Whitehall departments had been told to work to a March 14 deadline.
Downing Street yesterday insisted that the Prime Minister had always intended to wait until the end of the month.
Peers in the House of Lords backed down last night and accepted the supremacy of elected MPs after they rejected amendments on the issue of giving MPs a “meaningful vote” on the final Brexit deal and guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens.