Theresa May agrees to publish Brexit strategy - but demands backing on Article 50

May wants to trigger Article 50 by March

Theresa May has bowed to the threat of a Tory rebellion and agreed to publish details of her Brexit strategy

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Theresa May has agreed to publish her Brexit negotiating blueprint - but will ask MPs to vote in favour of triggering Article 50 before the end of March.

May's government was due to face an opposition day motion from Labour tomorrow, asking the Government to reveal details of its plans for exit negotiations with EU ministers - with the caveat that any material "that could be reasonably judged to damage the UK in any negotiations" be withheld.

It has been reported that a significant number of Conservative MPs were going to side with the motion. Indeed Tory MP Anna Soubry said up to 40 Tories could side with Labour.

The Government has now moved to head off the motion by agreeing not to oppose the motion when it is read out. But it will also table an amendment which reads: “This House will respect the wishes of the UK as expressed in the referendum on 23 June; and further calls on the Government to invoke Article 50 by March 31 2017”.

The amendment was revealed by Steve Baker, a member of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers.

Keir Starmer described May's decision as a "welcome and hugely significant climb down" and will push for the plan to be published no later than January 2017.

The news came on the second day of the Government's challenge to last month's High Court ruling on Article 50.

The challenge, being heard in the Supreme Court, argues that Theresa May has the power to trigger the secession clause without consulting Parliament. A ruling is expected in January.