• MPs begin two-day debate on Article 50 Bill
• House of Commons to consider SNP blocking amendment
• Tory minister and MPs told they may have to stay in Parliament until midnight in case of Brexit 'ambush' by Remainers
• Sir Bill Cash hails Brexit as "massive peaceful revolution" in warning to Remain MPs
• Ex-Scottish first minister Alex Salmond says Britain is now "desperate" for trade deals
• Nick Clegg demands second EU referendum
David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, challenged MPs on whether they "trust the people or not" as he opened a crunch debate on the Government’s proposed Article 50 Bill.
He kicked off two days of debate on the second reading in the House of Commons of the officially-titled European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.
If passed, the Bill will hand Theresa May the authority to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and start EU divorce talks.
The Prime Minister has vowed to invoke Article 50 by the end of March.
During the House of Commons exchanges, veteran Tory MP Sir Bill Cash branded Brexit a “a massive peaceful revolution by consent of historic proportions”.
He told MPs the proposed Bill “at last endorses that revolution”.
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Sir Bill said: “Remoaners who vote against this Bill, such as they are, just simply do not get the scale of what this revolution involves.
“They say that they respect it and accept it but they do not.”
He told those MPs planning to vote against the Bill they will be “voting against the outcome” of the EU referendum.
Quoting 19th century prime minister William Pitt the Younger, to the anger of SNP MPs, Sir Bill said: “England has saved herself by her exertions and will I trust save Europe and the UK by her example.”
Sir Bill Cash hailed Brexit as a 'massive peaceful revolution'
Beginning proceedings earlier, Mr Davis had told MPs: "This Bill responds directly to the Supreme Court judgement and seeks to honour the commitment the Government gave to honour the outcome of the referendum held on June 23 last year.
"It is not a Bill about whether or not the UK should leave the EU, or indeed how it should do so.
“It is simply about Parliament empowering the Government to implement a decision already made, a point of no return already passed.
“We asked the people of the UK if they wanted to leave the EU; they decided they did.
"So at the core of this Bill lies a very simple question: do we trust the people or not?"
David Davis opened the Article 50 debate today
The Brexit Secretary told MPs the "democratic mandate is clear" for them to pass the Bill.
He said: "The electorate voted for a Government to give them a referendum. Parliament then voted to hold a referendum, the people then voted in that referendum and we are now honouring the result of the referendum as we said we would.
"This is the most straightforward possible Bill necessary to enact the referendum result and respect the Surpeme Court judgement."
Mr Davis also reminded MPs the House of Commons has "already overwhelmingly passed a motion to support the triggering of Article 50 by March 31" in a vote last year.
Speaker John Bercow revealed 99 backbenchers are hoping to speak in the debate today alone, as he selected an amendment in the name of SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson.
This calls for the Article 50 Bill to be blocked for several reasons.
The SNP amendment states the Government has yet to publish its detailed plans in a White Paper, has offered no details for "effective consultation" with devolved administrations on implementing Article 50, and leftunanswered questions about the implications of leaving the Single Market.
The SNP's Stephen Gethins presented his party's wrecking amendment to the Article 50 Bill
At the core of this Bill lies a very simple question: do we trust the people or not?
Presenting the party's wrecking amendment, the SNP's Europe spokesman Stephen Gethins told MPs the only detailed plans for Brexit had been published by the Scottish and Welsh governments.
He demanded the Government set out a promised White Paper on its Brexit plans and told MPs: "Passing this Bill and turning your back on our amendment would turn its back on the progress made and disrespect the devolution settlement.
"I'd urge members to vote for our amendment, otherwise this is a backward and damaging step and it is an act of constitutional and economic sabotage."
Despite the June 23 vote to quit the EU, Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer responded to Mr Davis by claiming the Article 50 Bill is "very difficult" for Labour.
He said: "We have before us a short Bill and a relatively simple Bill. But for the Labour Party this is a very difficult Bill."
Sir Keir's comments sparked laughter on the Conservative benches, with Sir Keir forced to ask Tory MPs to "be courteous as I try to set out the position of the Labour Party in what are very difficult circumstances".
He added: "We are a fiercely internationalist party, we're a pro-European party. We believe that through our alliances we achieve more together than we do alone.
"We believe international co-operation and international collaboration and we believe in the international rule of law.
"These beliefs will never change."
Veteran Tory MP Ken Clarke told the House of Commons he will vote against Article 50
Veteran Tory MP and europhile Ken Clarke was applauded by Labour and SNP MPs as he told the House of Commons he would be voting against the Bill.
He described visions of a post-Brexit future as a "wonderland" fantasy, telling MPs: ""We are combining withdrawal from the single market and the customs union with this great new globalised future, which offers tremendous opportunities for us.
"Apparently you follow the rabbit down the hole and you emerge in a wonderland where suddenly countries around the world are queuing up to give us trading advantages and access to their markets that previously we had never been able to achieve as part of the EU.
"Nice men like President Trump and President Erdogan are just impatient to abandon their normal protectionism and give us access.
"Don't let me be too cynical – I hope that is right. I want the best outcome for the United Kingdom from this process.
"No doubt there is somewhere a Hatter holding a tea party with a dormouse."
The 133-word Bill follows the Supreme Court's ruling last week the Prime Minister must first gain the consent of MPs and peers before beginning EU exit negotiations.
The Liberal Democrats, SNP and rebel Labour MPs will this week introduce five wrecking amendments aimed at derailing the Bill.
Each of these amendments will be debated over the next two days, with votes to be held tomorrow.
But it has been reported Government ministers and Tory MPs have also been told to stay in the House of Commons until midnight tonight amid fears of an “ambush” late-night vote by pro-Remain MPs.
Labour will only try to introduce their planned seven official amendments at a later stage in the process and not this week.
Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has ordered his MPs not to block Brexit but could face a rebellion by up to 100 MPs.
If the Bill survives unscathed, it will return to the House of Commons for a third reading and a final vote on February 8, when it will then pass to the House of Lords.