MPs have overwhelmingly agreed to let the government begin the UK’S departure from the EU as they voted for the Brexit Bill. The draft legislation was approved by 494 votes to 122, and now moves to the House Of Lords. Shadow business secretary Clive Lewis was one of 52 Labour MPs to defy party orders to back the bill and he resigned from the front bench.
PM Theresa May wants to trigger formal Brexit talks by the end of March. She will do this by invoking article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, but requires parliament’s permission before doing so.
The Labour rebellion was five mps up on last week’s vote, while former chancellor Ken Clarke was again the only conservative to vote against the two-clause bill. During the voting, SNP MPs were reprimanded by Deputy Speaker Lindsay
Hoyle after they started singing ode to joy, the European Union Anthem.
The Bill will be debated in the House Of Lords after it returns from recess on 20 February. Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron vowed the party’s peers would seek to amend the bill in the lords, including another attempt to ensure a referendum on the final Brexit deal.