MP’s have begun two days of debate in the House of Commons in a bid to get Brexit underway.
The debate about the government’s parliamentary bill (the European Union bill) will see 99 MPs have their say about Brexit, culminating in a vote on Wednesday.
Ministers are hoping to get the bill passed to trigger Brexit by March 31 as previously set out by Prime Minister Theresa May.
If the European Union bill is passed she can then invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which will officially get talks between the UK government and the EU off the ground.
Only then will the world get a better idea of what pulling out of the Single Market will truly mean for Britain and what form new trade negotiations will take.
The government is expected to win the vote with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn reportedly telling his Labour MPs to back May. However, the Scottish National Party and the Liberal are understood to be voting against it and a Labour rebellion to an extent, cannot be ruled out.
And there are those within the Conservative Party who will not be voting along party lines, including Tory veteran and former Chancellor Ken Clarke MP.
“I’m told I should vote for my party and I have been a decent loyal Conservative over the years. What I would point out is that somehow I am being disloyal by not voting in favour of this bill when I am merely propounding the official party line of the last 50 years,” he said in the House.
“I admire my colleagues who can enthusiastically become Brexiteers. If you put between us and the biggest free market in the word, new tariffs, new customs procedures, certificates of origin and so on, you are bound to be weakening your economic position.”
“My views have not been shaken over the decades on this issue and I personally will be voting with my conscience content.”
Last week the Supreme Court ruled there must be a vote in Parliament following last June’s referendum result.
If the vote goes according to the government plan, the bill will be debated again next week where opposition parties are expected to push through a series of amendments.