MPs Overwhelmingly Back Article 50 – Brexit begins

Theresa May Has Power to Trigger Article 50
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MPs overwhelmingly back article 50.  They voted by a majority of 384 to allow Prime Minister Theresa May to get Brexit negotiations under way.  Members of Parliament packed the Chamber for the vote.

The MPs backed the government’s European Union Bill, supported by the Labour leadership, by 498 votes to 114.

But the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats opposed the bill.  Forty seven Labour MPs and Tory ex-chancellor Ken Clarke rebelled.  Jeremy Corbyn had imposed a three-line whip, the strongest instruction he could give.  It was ignored by the rebels.

One MP was heard to shout “Suicide” when the result of the vote was announced.

The bill now faces further scrutiny in the Commons and the House of Lords before it can become law.

Prime Minister, Theresa May has set a deadline of 31 March for invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. This will get official talks with the EU started. The bill returns to the Commons next week.

Europe

Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson said “history has been made” and that it was “absolutely momentous”.  He said the UK would “forge a new identity” and make “an amazingly positive contribution” to Europe.

MPs held two days of debate on the bill, which follows last June’s referendum in which voters opted by 51.9% to 48.1% in favour of Brexit.

Atmosphere in the Chamber was euphoric and MPs couldn’t wait to congratulate the PM and the rest of the Brexiteers. Headlines talk of victory and criticise those who wanted to prevent the vote getting through.

Analysts had said from the start that Theresa May would win but it was a battle at times. There is still more business to be done on the Bill.  One of the biggest hurdles was getting it passed in the Commons

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