The Bill became necessary following the UK Supreme Court’s ruling on Tuesday that the UK Government could not trigger Article 50 without parliamentary approval. The Supreme Court did eliminate the possibility of the Bill being slowed by the devolved governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland by ruling that those bodies do not have the right to veto the triggering of Article 50. Had the Supreme Court ruled that the devolved governments had a veto, there would have been little chance of the Prime Minister’s target of a March notification being met. The UK Government has provided for the Bill to be fast-tracked through both houses of parliament. Amendments are likely although given the brevity of the Bill and the requirement that amendments do not extend the scope of any bill, we are unlikely to see much additional text in the final Bill.
In what will be of interest to those in the Energy Industry, the Bill also gives the Prime Minister power to notify the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom, the European Atomic Energy Community. The UK’s European Union (Amendment) Act 2008 defines the “EU” to include Euratom. Euratom governs the pooling of knowledge, infrastructure and funding of nuclear energy across the member states of the European Union.