British government to set out Brexit strategy on Thursday

White paper to come just hours after MPs vote on bill aiming to trigger EU departure process

The British government’s white paper setting out its strategy for leaving the European Union will be published on Thursday, prime Mmnister Theresa May has said. Photograph: PA Wire.

The British government’s white paper setting out its strategy for leaving the European Union will be published on Thursday, prime Mmnister Theresa May has said. Photograph: PA Wire.

 

The British government’s white paper setting out its strategy for leaving the European Union will be published on Thursday.

Prime minister Theresa May made the announcement as MPs prepared to vote for the first time on the bill allowing her to trigger Article 50, which marks the start of the formal Brexit process.

“That white paper will be published tomorrow,” she said.

Mrs May’s announcement, at Prime Minister’s Questions, came as the European Union (Notification Of Withdrawal) bill was expected to pass its first test, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ordering his MPs to back the government bill.

A revolt from pro-Remain MPs on the Labour benches could give Mr Corbyn a headache and he may be forced to sack frontbenchers who fail to follow his orders.

Urging MPs to back the Article 50 bill in Wednesday evening’ s vote, Mrs May told the Commons: “This House has a very simple decision to take.

“We gave the right of judgment on this issue to the British people. They made their choice. They want to leave the EU...The question every member must ask themselves as they go through the lobbies tonight is: ‘Do they trust the people?”’

Residency assurances

Mrs May said it was her “intention and expectation” that the government would be able to offer assurances about the position of EU nationals resident in the UK although she wanted to see similar assurances for British nationals in the EU.

“We will be working to try to ensure that this is an issue we can deal with at the very early stage in the negotiations,” she said. “It was one of the objectives I set out in the plan. It will be referenced in the white paper.”

On Tuesday, Brexit secretary David Davis introduced the legislation by stressing the government’s determination to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, starting the formal two-year countdown to leaving the EU. The government was forced to seek Parliament’s approval for its plans by a Supreme Court ruling last week.

Mr Davis warned MPs they would not be able to vote to block Brexit, telling them the “point of no return” had already passed.

Following the vote for Brexit in last June’s referendum, Mr Davis said the only question now before parliament was: “Do we trust the people or not?”

PA