EU Withdrawal Bill passes, Brexit to follow

eu withdrawal bill
© iStock/Firn

The UK government’s EU Withdrawal Bill, which cements the terms for the implementation of Brexit, has been approved by the House of Commons.

The UK will now almost certainly leave the EU on 31 January 2020 in accordance with the terms of the EU Withdrawal Bill, which has passed through Parliament with a majority of 358 votes to 234. The bill will now pass to the committee stage for a more in-depth exploration.

Ahead of the bill’s introduction in Parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “After years of delay and rancour in Parliament, we will deliver certainty and hard-working businesses and people across this country will have a firm foundation on which to plan for the future. Next year will be a great year for our country – the year we get Brexit done, boost NHS funding, invest in infrastructure and level up access to opportunity and prosperity across our great nation. It will mark the start of a new decade where the United Kingdom will champion trade, innovation and science and meet global challenges with old friends and new across the world.”

This is the fifth attempt by a UK prime minister to pass a withdrawal bill through the House of Commons. Since the first attempt by former prime minister Theresa May in January 2019, when May’s withdrawal bill lost a vote in Commons by an historic majority of 230 votes, the withdrawal agreement has been subject to an assortment of votes, renegotiations and amendments. Johnson’s EU Withdrawal Bill in particular has removed protections for child refugees which had been included in previous editions, as well as commitments on workers’ rights.

Following the vote, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said: “That doesn’t mean that the deal negotiated by the prime minister is a good deal. It isn’t. It was a bad deal in October when it was signed. It was a bad deal when it was first debated in this House in October. It was a bad deal last Thursday and it’s a bad deal today.”

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