Withdrawal Agreement Bill passes through Commons
The House of Commons has voted 330 to 231 in favour of Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill and it will now advance to the House of Lords.
The majority of 99 saw the bill clear its third reading in the Commons, meaning it has taken just three days for the bill to clear after initial approval for the legislation was granted by MPs before the parliamentary recess over the festive period.
It will only go back to MPs again if peers opt to make amendments.
The bill covers the financial settlement between the UK and EU, citizens’ rights, customs arrangements for Northern Ireland and the terms of the 11-month period of transition.
The transition period will commence when the UK leaves the EU on the due date of January 31. During the window, the UK and the EU will negotiate their future economic relationship, including a comprehensive free-trade deal.
Brexit secretary Steve Barclay echoed his prime minister’s confidence that a trade deal can be agreed between now and the December 31 deadline, despite concerns from newly appointed European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen that the window is too short.
In the wake of the bill's passing, the Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: "They [MPs] have voted for a bill that will slash the rights of future generations to live and work across 27 other countries.
"They have voted for a bill that strips away our guaranteed environmental protections, despite the fact that we are facing a climate emergency.”
Meanwhile, SNP leader in Westminster, Ian Blackford, vowed that Scotland will “remain an independent European country” in spite of the latest developments, calling it a "constitutional crisis".