The pound slumped to a two-month low after the Brexit bill cleared both houses of Parliament, opening the way for the prime minister to trigger Article 50. However, she is unlikely to begin withdrawal negotiations with the EU until the end of March.
On Monday night, peers in the House of Lords backed down on their demands for EU residency rights and a “meaningful” vote on the final Brexit deal after their objections were overturned by MPs in the House of Commons.
The exchange rate fell on Tuesday morning following news of the Brexit bill’s success. Sterling fell by 0.7 percent against the US dollar to 1.213 and 0.6 percent against the euro to 1.139.
Sterling is now at its lowest point since mid-January when Prime Minister Theresa May declared Britain would leave the single market. That is around 19 percent weaker than before last June’s Brexit vote.
The bill is expected to receive Royal Assent and become law on Tuesday. That means May will be free to push the button on withdrawal talks, now expected to begin in the last week of March.
Whitehall sources had earlier said May would move quickly to trigger Article 50. She had been expected to announce the start of Brexit talks in the Commons on Tuesday afternoon.
The new date is thought to be linked to the decision of Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to call for a second independence referendum by the spring of 2019. One suggestion was that May did not want to appear cavalier about the future of the union by rushing to trigger article 50 a day after Sturgeon’s statement.