UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson on Friday won Parliament’s backing of his Brexit deal, allowing him to forge ahead with his promise that Britain will finally leave the European Union next month, ABC News can report.
The MPs voted 358 to 234 – a majority of 124 – in favour of the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which now goes on to further scrutiny in Parliament.
The development means the UK will split from the block on January 31, when a transition period kicks in that will give both sides 11 months to agree on their future relationship.
In a Twitter post, Boris Johnson said the country was now “one step closer to getting Brexit done”.
“The second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill has passed – which means we are one step closer to getting Brexit done,” he wrote.
The second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill has passed – which means we are one step closer to getting Brexit done 🇬🇧
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 20, 2019
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told his MPs to vote against it, saying there was “a better and fairer way” to leave the EU – but six of them backed the government.
The government insists a trade deal with the EU can be in place by the end of the transition period, but critics say this timescale is unrealistic.
Boris Johnson cleared his first hurdle in the House of Commons on Friday, having won his Conservative Party a large parliamentary majority in the December 12 general election.
Previous attempts to pass a Brexit deal had failed because of opposition in Parliament.
Johnson repeatedly promised to deliver Brexit by January 31 in his election campaign. Getting “the Brexit vote wrapped up for Christmas” was his main aim.
“This is the time when we move on and discard the old labels of ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ … now is the time to act together as one reinvigorated nation, one United Kingdom,” Johnson told parliament before the vote.
“Now is the moment to come together and write a new and exciting chapter in our national story, to forge a new partnership with our European friends, to stand tall in the world, to begin the healing for which the whole people of this country yearn.”
The final stages of ratification will take place after Christmas, with the lower house of parliament having until January 9 to approve the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, giving it just over three weeks to then pass through the upper house and receive Royal Assent.