Britain's Brexit Bill Clears First Legislative Hurdle

The country took a massive step towards leaving the European Union on Wednesday after MPs voted by 498 votes to 114 for a Bill giving Theresa May authority to invoke Article 50, which begins Britain's two-year European Union exit.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn could see some rebellion from his party, the SNP and Liberal Democrats are also looking to go against ministers.

The British MPs voted after two days of debate, as key players of Britain's political scene within the last years, either supported or opposed the bill.

Downing Street said it would "reflect the Government's plan for Brexit as the PM set out in her speech on our negotiating objectives".

Last night (Wednesday) the House of Commons voted 498 votes to 114 in favour of the Government's EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, brought in following a ruling of the Supreme Court on January 24th.

He confirmed Labour will attempt to amend the Article 50 Bill to guarantee MPs a "meaningful" vote on the deal eventually secured by Mrs May.

She told MPs she would publish a long-awaited Brexit strategy paper on Thursday, opening it to parliamentary scrutiny while the Article 50 legislation makes its way through parliament.

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Those are the two things which set out how Britain does business and how freely it can import and export goods to the rest of the European Union.

Corbyn's team see the vote as a defining moment for Labour which is now facing two hard by-elections in Stoke and Copeland which both vote overwhelmingly in favour to leave the European Union.

"Do not forget, the 17.4 million people who voted to leave was the biggest vote for anything ever in British history".

Those who voted against the bill were from constituencies that voted to remain in the European Union during last year's referendum.

It follows that the Prime Minister should not be blocked from starting the article 50 negotiations, which is why I voted for the EU Bill at this week's second reading.

Declaring he would vote according to his view of "the best national interest", Mr Clarke was clapped by many on the opposition benches as he concluded: "I personally shall be voting with my conscience content in this vote".

"Agreeing a unilateral position in advance of these negotiations would lose negotiating capital with respect to British citizens in European Union member states and place the United Kingdom at an immediate disadvantage", the Home Office's free movement policy team wrote in a letter to concerned European Union nationals last month.

  • Adam Floyd