London: Prime Minister Theresa May today said the UK was nearing a "defining moment" as she awaits a final approval from the Queen to trigger the Brexit bill after she received the backing from both houses of Parliament.
Parliament has passed the landmark 'Brexit bill' allowing Prime Minister May to trigger crucial negotiations for the UK's exit from the European Union by the end of this month.
The House of Lords backed down over the issues of EU residency rights and a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal after MPs voted against their suggested amendments last night.
"We remain on track with the Brexit timetable...This will be a defining moment for our whole country as we begin to forge the new relationship with Europe and a new role for ourselves in the world...We will be a strong, self-governing Britain," May told the House of Commons today.
"We were able to show how Britain will play a leading role in Europe long after we have left the EU," she added, in reference to her visit to a European Union summit last week.
The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill is to become law in the coming days after Queen Elizabeth II signs her assent, which means May will be free to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to begin Britain's negotiations to leave the European Union (EU).
She is expected to press ahead later this month and confirmed today that Parliament will be notified before the end of March of her decision to invoke Article 50.
The House of Commons yesterday rejected amendments by the House of Lords, calling on the government to protect the status of EU nationals within three months of the start of Brexit talks, by 335 votes to 287.
They also dismissed calls for Parliament to have a meaningful vote on any Brexit deal by 331 to 286 votes.
The result came as Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that she will seek parliamentary approval to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence at a time when Brexit negotiations are expected to be reaching a conclusion.