LONDON—Queen Elizabeth has signed the Brexit bill, clearing the way for Prime Minister Theresa May to start talks to leave the European Union, it was learnt on Thursday.
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow announced Thursday that the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill has received Royal Assent from the queen, which was passed by the parliament on Monday.
A formal royal assent the queen is all that stands in the way of May informing Brussels of Britain’s intention of leaving the European Union after 43 years.
The bill gives May the legal authority to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the laid-down procedure within the EU for a member state wishing to leave. Once Article 50 is triggered, it kick-starts a two-year process for negotiating a new relationship between both sides.
May has said she will trigger the process by the end of the month, but this is not likely to happen until the last week of March.
Queen Elizabeth approved the bill by a process known as “royal assent”. This is when a monarch formally agrees to make a bill into an Act of Parliament (law).
When royal assent has been given, the legislation within the bill can come into effect immediately, after a set period or after a commencement order by a government minister.