Tory MP introduces Brexit bill to force May to trigger Article 50

A bid to ensure Theresa May delivers on her plan to trigger the UK's formal divorce from Brussels by the end of March 2017 has been tabled in the Commons.

Tory MP Peter Bone is trying to force Prime Minister Theresa May's hand. Picture: PA

Tory MP and Leave campaigner Peter Bone presented draft legislation on Wednesday that if agreed would legally require Article 50 to be implemented by March 31.

The timetable for the start of negotiations with the European Union has been cast in some doubt after judges ruled that MPs must be given a say before the Prime Minister can fire the Brexit starting gun.

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The Government has appealed against that ruling to the Supreme Court with the first day of the appeal set to take place on December 5.

Mr Bone’s Withdrawal From The European Union (Article 50) Bill has been scheduled for a second reading on Friday December 16.

However, it is unlikely to ever become law without the support of the Government.

Asked whether the Government would support Mr Bone’s Bill, Theresa May’s official spokeswoman told a Westminster briefing: “We’ve been clear on what our position is, which is it’s for the Government to trigger Article 50, that’s why we are taking an appeal to the Supreme Court.”

She added: “Our focus is on the fact that the Government already has that power and that’s the case we’ve set out very clearly in court and will set out once again in the Supreme Court hearing.”

The draft legislation would require the Government to notify the European Council by March 31 of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the European Union.