Long-awaited divorce proceedings between Britain and the European Union could start as early as Tuesday if, as expected, Prime Minister Theresa May convinces members of Parliament to overturn amendments to a Brexit bill proposed by the House of Lords.
Once the House of Commons passed the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill without any amendments, the House of Lords too passed it unamended by 274 votes to 118.
Brexit secretary David Davis said the vote meant the government could "get on with the job" of negotiating Britain's exit from the EU.
Meanwhile in the House of Lords, Labour sources told Sky News there was an "80-90% chance" that the European Union bill would clear the upper chamber on Monday, acknowledging that peers did not want to be portrayed as trying the thwart the result of the referendum.
The unelected House of Lords, wary of being seen as trying to block the outcome of last June's Brexit vote, is not expected to fight for their changes a second time.
Addressing MPs yesterday, Mrs May said the Bill could now receive formal assent from Queen Elizabeth II "in the coming days" - a process that would leave the Prime Minister free to start Brexit.
Theresa May will not trigger Article 50 until the end of the month, Downing Street indicated Monday.
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"Most fundamentally, the United Kingdom will not be in full control of the negotiating agenda, and specifically the order in which issues will be addressed", said James McCormack, global head of sovereigns at Fitch Ratings, in a blog post about the Brexit challenges he foresees for Britain. "What we can't have is either house of parliament reversing the decision of the British people - they haven't got a veto", Davis said.
She promised to come to the Commons before the end of March to inform MPs she had formally triggered Article 50.
According to the Independent a spokesman for the United Kingdom government confirmed that while Article 50 will not be triggered this week, it will have been by the end of the month.
The UK has taken one step closer to leaving the European Union on March 13 as Parliament approved a bill to launch the Brexit procedure in its original form, without amendments.
Barnier and Britain must also work out practical issues such as what language the talks will be held in - Barnier is French - and the timetable, though some of those issues may be sorted out earlier.
Some rebels admit in private that they are unlikely to muster sufficient numbers to prevent a government victory on Monday evening, not least because the Democratic Unionist party and some Labour MPs are likely to support Mrs May. "A "no deal" scenario would open a Pandora's Box of economic consequences", said Paul Drechsler, president of the Confederation of British Industry, in a recent speech in London.
He also criticised Labour, saying they "sat on their hands" when they could have been blocking May's hard Brexit.