An overwhelming majority of British members of parliament voted Wednesday to allow Prime Minister Theresa May to start Brexit negotiations with the European Union.
The government’s European Union Bill passed with 498 votes to 114. The vote comes a week after the British Supreme Court ruled the public vote last June wasn’t enough to start the process. (RELATED: British Supreme Court Gives Parliament Chance To Stop Brexit)
The bill will now have to go through the House of Lords before becoming law. May has set a March 31 deadline for invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and beginning exit negotiations with the EU.
“I’ve just voted three times in the House of Commons for an absolutely momentous thing – to give our Prime Minister the right to trigger Article 50 and Britain to begin the path out of the EU,” Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a message on Facebook. “Don’t forget we may be leaving the EU treaties but we are not leaving Europe.”
The Scottish National Party attempted to block the bill before the voting. The center-left Labour Party’s leadership backed the bill, but 47 of the party’s MPs revolted and voted against it.
“Forty seven Labour MPs voting against the article 50 Bill shows Labour can’t speak for themselves, let alone speak for the country,” a Conservative Party spokesman told The Telegraph. “They’re hopelessly divided and can’t even agree whether they should back the Bill to implement the decision taken by the public to leave the EU.”
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