LONDON The British government has prepared a short "bomb-proof" piece of legislation on triggering formal divorce talks with the European Union in case a court ruling that parliament must be involved is upheld, the BBC reported on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court is likely to make its ruling in the New Year on the issue of whether the government requires parliamentary approval before invoking Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon treaty to start the leaving negotiations.
Prime Minister Theresa May wants to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, but some believe her timetable could be derailed if the government has to introduce legislation.
The BBC cited unnamed sources as saying the government had prepared a bill of just three lines which it believed would be "bomb-proof" against amendments by lawmakers who may try and add conditions to the approval.
The government plans to introduce the bill immediately after the Supreme Court ruling if it loses, and hopes it would be able to push it through the House of Commons in two weeks, the BBC said.
It would then have to go to parliament's upper house, the House of Lords, where the government does not have a majority. The BBC said the government believes the Lords would not defy the Commons, and so May would still be able to meet her end of March deadline.
A spokeswoman for May said the report was "speculation".
"Our focus is on appealing the High Court judgement," she added.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison)