Brexit Bill: Theresa May could trigger Article 50 on Tuesday
London : British Prime Minister Theresa May could formally trigger Brexit as early as Tuesday after European leaders revealed that they were already making preparations for an announcement.
Ministers were increasingly confident that May's Article 50 bill could clear both the Commons and the Lords on Monday, The Telegraph reported on Friday.
The swift passage of the legislation would clear the way for May to trigger Brexit negotiations in the Commons on Tuesday.
The announcement would help May move the debate away from Philip Hammond's Budget. Downing Street has said that Article 50 will be triggered by the end of the month but refused to commit to a date.
It came as Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, said that EU leaders were prepared to respond within 48 hours of May triggering Brexit.
"We are well prepared for the whole procedure and I have no doubt that we will be ready within 48 hours, I think it is a proper time to react," he said.
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, confirmed that if May invokes Article 50 next week an "extraordinary meeting" of the remaining 27 members of the EU would be held on April 6.
She said: "If the letter comes next week, the special summit will be on April 6. If it comes later than next week then we'll have to find a date after April 6."
"We are fully prepared and we will wait with interest. But on which day it will come in March is not of such great significance," she added.
It comes after the Government was defeated in the House of Lords on two amendments to the Article 50 bill.