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  1. Brexit bill published - debate next week
  2. It gives details on negotiation hopes
  3. Theresa May heading to the US

Live Reporting

By Alex Hunt, Jackie Storer and BBC Parliament Staff

All times stated are UK

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Brexit and EU signs

Alex Hunt

BBC News

A guide to plans for the UK to leave the European Union, after the 2016 referendum.

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Thursday's headlines

Here's a round-up of the stories that have topped the news in politics today...

Stand by for Trump's speech to Republicans

BBC political editor tweets...

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq

A shadow minister quits after being told to back the new Article 50 bill, hours after it is introduced.

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Shadow education minister resigns over Labour Brexit vote

Guardian political reporter tweets...

Labour calls for single market access as part of Article 50 support

Labour has tabled a number of amendments to the Article 50 bill, which will kickstart the UK's exit from the EU.

Jeremy Corbyn has ordered his MPs to back the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, but says the amendments aim to prevent Britain becoming a "bargain basement tax haven off the coast of Europe".

Labour says it also aims "to improve the process" and ensure Parliament "is able to hold the government to account throughout the Brexit negotiations".

The amendments include: ensuring the Commons has the first say on any proposed deal, protection for workers' rights, full tariff and free access to the single market, guaranteed legal rights for EU nationals living in the UK, and a requirement for Brexit Secretary David Davis to report to the House every two months on progress during Brexit negotiations.

Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer says the amendments "will significantly improve" the government’s bill.

“The Article 50 bill will be the start, not the end of the Brexit process and Labour will hold the government to account all the way," he said.

Watch: Jeremy Corbyn tells Labour MPs to back Article 50

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urges his MPs not to "block" the Brexit bill when it goes before the Commons.

Labour front-bencher to back Brexit bill

Clive Lewis

Labour shadow business secretary Clive Lewis says he will vote for the Article 50 bill that will trigger the UK's exit from the EU.

He said: 

I have been clear throughout that I respect the result of the referendum and will, therefore, join my colleagues in voting for the bill on its second reading. However, Theresa May does not have a mandate to dictate the terms of Brexit without listening to the British people. The whole country should be involved in determining our shared future, which is why Labour has fought for the British people to have a say, through Parliament. Labour will seek to amend the bill to prevent the government using Brexit to trash our rights, public services, jobs and living standards while cutting taxes for the wealthiest."

Jeremy Corbyn urges Labour: Don't block Article 50

BBC News Channel

Jeremy Corbyn

Labour MPs "are in something of a dilemma" over whether to back Jeremy Corbyn and vote for Article 50 - or go against the three-line whip he has imposed, BBC chief political correspondent Vicki Young has said.

The Labour leader urged his party to "unite around the important issues of jobs, economy, security, rights, justice".

But he added:

And I'm asking all of our MPs not to block Article 50 but to make sure it goes through next week."

Greens urge Labour not to wave through Brexit bill

Caroline Lucas

Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Caroline Lucas has appealed to Labour MPs to join her in voting against the "premature triggering" of Article 50 - which kickstarts the UK's exit from the EU.

She has also tabled a further amendment, alongside Labour's Geraint Davies, the SNP's Stephen Gethins and SDLP's Mark Durkan, seeking to prevent a further reading of the bill, which will reject it altogether.

She said:

I urge Labour MPs to join me in voting against the premature triggering of Article 50. Many of the things that progressive politicians hold dear are at risk. If we’re serious about opposing an extreme Brexit then we can’t just wave through Article 50. Indeed the Labour Party leadership should be giving MPs the chance to make their own principled choice on one of the most important decisions of the UK's recent history. "

University launches Centre for Brexit Studies alongside wishlist for the economy

Rob Mayor

Black Country Political Reporter, BBC WM

A university has launched a Centre for Brexit Studies alongside a wishlist of things the West Midlands needs to get from the government in order to make a success of leaving the EU.

The paper published by the centre

Birmingham City University (BCU) hopes the new centre will promote engagement between Leave and Remain standpoints, while providing collaborative opportunities for businesses and professional groups.

The report meanwhile makes three key points. It claims more investment is needed in infrastructure, such as expanding broadband services, and to close the skills gap so there are enough people to fill roles in the high-tech manufacturing sector, which is still struggling to recruit people.

Another area for improvement, it says, is transport - tackling a bottleneck slowing down how products fashioned in the West Midlands get to their destination.

Professor Alex de Ruyter heads up the Centre for Brexit Studies and said the way the UK measured its economy needed to change because the West Midlands currently is "overlooked" for investment.

Labour shadow minister set to defy party whip on Article 50

BBC political reporter tweets...

Man tipped to be Trump's ambassador to the EU talks to Nigel Farage

UKIP former leader tweets...

Former Labour rebels 'set to back Article 50 bill'

BBC assistant political editor tweets...

EU and Wales flags

The interests of Wales will be reflected, the Brexit secretary says, as the bill to trigger Article 50 is published.

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Watch: Debating 'bargain-basement Brexit'

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Scottish independence 'might involve 10 year transition'

BBC Scotland business editor tweets...

Theresa May should warn Donald Trump against torture - Amnesty

Guantanamo Bay
Donald Trump says no more detainees should be released from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba.

The UK prime minister must not to shy away from raising human rights issues with US President Donald Trump, Amnesty International has warned.

The charity's UK director Kate Allen said:

During her meeting in Washington, Theresa May must not flinch from telling the president some basic truths about the complete unacceptability of authorising a return to the use of waterboarding and other torture, or indeed of keeping Guantanamo open. While trade and security are likely to be top of her agenda in Washington, Mrs May shouldn't shy away from the human rights issues that are already looming large in the first week of the Trump presidency."

Ex-Labour minister says he will defy party whip to vote against Article 50

BBC News Channel

Ben Bradshaw

Former Labour minister Ben Bradshaw says he will not be voting to trigger Article 50 - which begins the UK's exit from the EU - despite his leader Jeremy Corbyn making it a three-line whip issue.

Urging all MPs "to think very carefully before they start to vote", he said:

I won’t vote to destroy jobs and prosperity in my constituency or across the country. Theresa May has made quite clear she wants the hardest of hard Brexits - excluding ourselves from the single market, out of the customs union, catastrophic for our economy in this country. There’s no way I can support that.”

Asked if he thought Mrs May should meet US President Donald Trump, Mr Bradshaw added: "It's demeaning that she seems so desperate to be the first foreign leader to meet the most unpopular American president in history, who has just said he supports torture because she's desperate for a trade deal."

Listen: Bob Stewart MP says torture 'sometimes' justified

BBC Radio 5 live

Conservative MP Bob Stewart says "sometimes" torture might work and be justified

The US values its special relationship with the UK - Republican House Speaker

BBC News Channel

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell
US Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan (left) gives a press conference with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell

The US has a "very, very special and unique relationship with Great Britain", senior US Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan has said.

Speaking ahead of Theresa May's address to Republican congressmen in Philadelphia, he said:

We have a very, very special and unique relationship with Great Britain - we value this relationship. I think the fact the prime minister is coming to meet with us today is testiment to the fact that this is a very important relationship that we value. And we believe, going forward, we can do more things like trade and the rest to increase our bonds and our ties and help each of our two nations."

Government's Commonwealth concerns?

BBC diplomatic correspondent tweets...

SNP to fight Article 50 bill 'tooth and nail' - Salmond

BBC News Channel

The Scottish Nationalists are going to fight "tooth and nail" against triggering Article 50, which begins the process of the UK leaving the EU, says former leader Alex Salmond.

The SNP has tabled 50 amendments to the bill, which Mr Salmond says he hopes will catch support from MPs on all sides.

He says there is "a real concern" in the Commons and the Lords about what happens when there is a parliamentary vote in 18 months time "if there's no agreement on the terms".

He asked if this would mean the UK getting ejected on World Trade terms "so you'd end up with choice between a bad deal and even worse deal".

Alex Salmond: UK PM looks desperate for US trade deal

BBC News Channel

Alex Salmond

Theresa May has put herself in "an extraordinary, difficult, awkward position" by visiting a US president who has "declared his support for torture", SNP former leader Alex Salmond has said.

He asked how appropriate it is for the UK prime minister to be gifting Donald Trump a Scottish quaich, which is "a cup of kindness, a symbol of universal love and solidarity", in the wake of his declaration.

Mr Salmond claims Mrs May has "given the impression of being so desperate to have a trade deal because of the weakness of her position" over the EU.

You should never go into a negotiation of any kind with Donald Trump from a weak negotiating position, because if you do he will take you to the cleaners - and appealing to his better nature is a futile attempt. "

Mr Salmond said the idea that Mrs May is going to change Mr Trump's nature "is just fantastic".

He said the UK has good terms of trade with the US and the last thing it needs to do is change these into better terms for the US.

Scottish Parliament chamber

Holyrood's consent is likely to be needed for the Great Repeal Bill which removes EU laws from the UK, David Mundell says.

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Ministerial red box

Ministers are trying to do too much and becoming less transparent, a leading think tank suggests.

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Baroness Hayter: 'These are not bargaining chips...these are human beings'

Debate on EU citizens in the UK

House of Lords


Closing the debate, Labour business spokeswoman Baroness Hayter says the majority of those speaking have delivered "a very strong plea to recognise the rights and the expectations" of EU citizens in the UK.

"These are not bargaining chips to be used," she says. "These are human beings. They are our friends and colleagues."

She claims that such a tactic will not be "looked on well by the other side" in negotiations with the EU.

Finally, Baroness Hayter, who was born in Germany, refers back to her opening comments about having to fill in an 85 page form to prove UK residency. It seems she told that story just for illustrative purposes.

"I was actually born British. I don't have to fill in the form but many others do."

'High political will' for US-UK deal

BBC Radio 4

Andrew Lilico, chairman of Europe Economics, tells the World at One that the average US trade deal takes something like 18 months to negotiate, rather than five to 10 years. 

He says there is "very high political will" involved in the case of a US-UK deal.

He believes Donald Trump will want a deal with the UK to act as a template to show the world what a fair trading deal with the US is, having already said he believes deals involving low-wage low-standards economies are unfair on the US.

Mr Lilico adds: "If we can get in first and be the template for that I think he will have an appetite for making the deal look good from our side as well as his."

Can UK get a good trade deal with US?

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

Is a US-UK trade deal on the cards? And if so, what will be up for grabs?

Sir Andrew Cahn, the former UK Trade and Investment chief, has told BBC Radio 4's World at One that while people think it will be 5 to 10 years before a deal is done - the fact there is political enthusiasm on both sides for one means it could be much quicker.

The problem, he says, will be what sort of deal could the UK get? As Britain has a trade surplus with the US - and Mr Trump says he doesn' t like trade deficits - the question will be what is up for sale. He thinks the US might want access for its expensive pharmaceuticals for the NHS as well as farm products, which would not be welcomed by UK farmers.

He says recent comments are encouraging but it will be difficult to get a deal that is good for the UK, its exporters and its economy. 

Commonwealth concerns prompt new two appointments

James Landale

Diplomatic correspondent

The government has drafted in senior officials to support the Commonwealth amid continuing concerns over the way the organisation is being run, BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale says.

The Department for International Development said last month that the secretariat that runs the Commonwealth in London - led by the Labour peer, Lady Scotland - was "under performing" and needed "urgent organisational reform".

Senior diplomatic and political sources - speaking off the record to the BBC - have also accused the Commonwealth Secretary-General of "arrogance" and "poor leadership". 

But a spokesman for Lady Scotland insisted she had the backing of the 52 Commonwealth countries that elected her and had launched a programme to modernise the Commonwealth-Secretariat.

Tim Hitchens, a senior Foreign Office official and former ambassador to Japan, has been put in charge of a team preparing for the Commonwealth summit in London next year.

Sir Simon Gass, a very senior official who retired from the Foreign Office last year, has been made acting chief operating officer at the Commonwealth Secretariat. He is working directly with Lady Scotland at the secretariat's headquarters at Marlborough House in London. 

The appointments are being seen in Whitehall as an attempt by the government to shore up a troubled organisation before a meeting of Commonwealth trade ministers in London in March - which they hope will show how Britain after Brexit can do more trade with countries outside the European Union.

Labour rebellion ahead over Article 50 bill?

John Pienaar

Jeremy Corbyn's decision to order his MPs to vote in favour of triggering Article 50 - to start the process of the UK leaving the EU - has been made to assure people Labour respects the EU referendum result, BBC deputy political editor John Pienaar says.

But he may face a small rebellion from those opposed to it, including some of his own shadow ministerial team.

Clive Lewis and Tulip Siddiq are among shadow ministers who may choose to oppose triggering Article 50, John says.

It is possible the vote may be followed by some shadow ministerial sackings - although Jeremy Corbyn will want to avoid this, he says.

Jeremy Corbyn's message to May ahead of Trump talks

Here's what Labour Jeremy Corbyn has said about Theresa May's meeting with President Donald Trump:

I want her to be very blunt. Very blunt that you cannot approach the problems of the world on the basis that you will bring back torture, bring back waterboarding, you'll build a wall against your nearest neighbour, and then start on about trade arrangements which are solely beneficial to the USA and not anybody else."

Asked about the implications for the 'special relationship', Mr Corbyn said there had to be a "good relationship" with the USA. Pressed on whether he supported the concept of a special relationship or would be happy to see a cooling of relations, Mr Corbyn said: "No, we have to have an effective and good relationship with the USA."  

Labour MPs face three-line whip to back Brexit process

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour MPs will face a three-line whip in order to compel them to vote to invoke Article 50, triggering the UK's withdrawal from the EU. 

The Labour leader said he wanted "all of our MPs to support the Article 50 vote when it comes up next week". 

Pushed on whether this meant a three-line whip, Mr Corbyn said:

It's clearly a three-line whip. It is a vote on Article 50."

Mr Corbyn added that Labour would put out a statement to members saying that "we want them to vote for Article 50".

He understood the "pressures and issues" members faced, but called on them to "unite" around "important issues" and "not to block Article 50 but to make sure it goes through next week".

Constitutional expert: 'Brexit bill framed very tightly to avoid amendments'

The Daily Politics

Vernon Bernard Bogdanor

Parliament is in an unprecedented position in that it is being asked to vote for Brexit - something 75% of MPs are opposed to, according to constitutional expert Vernon Bernard Bogdanor.

He said MPs have to make up their minds whether to vote on the Article 50 bill according to their views of what's best for Britain - or the result of the EU referendum.

"There are only two parties that favour Brexit in Parliament - the DUP with eight MPs and UKIP with one MP. Nine MPs out of 650 - now that's not very representative of the country," he told BBC2's Daily Politics.

He says he expects the government has deliberately framed the bill "very tightly hoping amendments will be ruled out of order".

The government will timetable the bill to ensure it gets through within a set period of time, he says.

But Mr Bogdanor argues that the House of Lords is more of a problem for the government because it does not have a majority there.

However, he says the prime minister could call a general election if the Lords tried to thwart the legislation.

Introducing ... the Brexit bill

Brexit department tweets...

Watch: Brexit 'to be done under single banner'

Negotiations for leaving the EU need to be done under a single banner, Brexit Secretary David Davis says.

Shortest bill ever?

Reality Check

This is a very short two clause bill as promised by BREXIT Secretary David Davis earlier today. At 133 words it is the shortest bill of this Parliamentary session- but isn't the shortest bit of legislation ever. That honour goes to the "Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918". That bill was just 70 words long and allowed women to sit in Parliament.
Parliamentary Archives

The Brexit bill is now published

BBC Parliament tweets...

Watch: 'EU no longer wants to chastise UK'

EU member states no longer want to take the UK to task over Brexit, says Chancellor Philip Hammond.

DFID 'highly respected' around the world

International Development Committee

Select Committee


Gordon Brown

The former prime minister spends some time shaking the hands of committee members, some his former colleagues, before the Chair Stephen Twigg welcomes him to the committee.

Gordon Brown tells MPs that the Department for International Development is "highly respected" around the world. 

There will always be a "battle publically" about how well aid is used, he adds.