British Prime Minister Theresa May can trigger Article 50 as early as Tuesday next week to start the Brexit process. As such European leaders who are meeting in Brussels were told to better be prepared for the formal Brexit negotiations.
May has scheduled a major Commons statement on Tuesday, and Brexit supporters are hopeful that she might use it as an opportunity and a good opening to formally trigger Brexit. The statement of May was, in fact, already moved from the initial schedule of Monday to Tuesday due to issues with diary commitments.
The standing EU Notification of Withdrawal Bill will go back to the House of Commons on Monday after its passage through the House of Lords. It could already be voted through as early as Monday night- and in turn could pave the way for May to have the opportunity to formally trigger Article 50 on Tuesday. Such a scenario, however, depends on the House of Lords, if they would allow the bill to pass.
The upper chamber for its part voted in favor of according Parliament a meaningful vote on the outcome of separation talks with the European Union. Peers are also pushing for the rights of EU nationals living in the U.K. to be protected even if Article 50 is triggered. The government, however, is planning to overturn these two amendments when the bills returns to the House of Commons on Monday. Brexit Secretary David Davis said the Article 50 holds a straightforward purpose and that is to allow the Government to get on with negotiating a new partnership with the U.S.
A formal gathering of EU leaders has been scheduled on April 6 to respond to Britain's formal letter of notification. The meeting is intended for the leaders to agree a framework for exit talks.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said that there will be immediate response from the European Council after Article 50 is triggered, and that guidelines will be issued within two days. The said guidelines are planned to be drafted on April 6.
There are those who have voiced doubts that May would be willing to work within such tight timeframe and run the risk of diplomatic upset by triggering Article 50 so close after the Dutch elections on March 15.