British Lawmakers Approve Bill to Start Brexit
British MPs overwhelmingly backed a bill on Wednesday empowering Prime Minister Theresa May to start negotiations on leaving the European Union, bringing Brexit a significant step closer.
Members of the House of Commons voted by 494 votes to 122 for a law enabling May to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which begins two years of talks on pulling out of the 28-nation bloc.
“We’ve seen a historic vote tonight — a big majority for getting on with negotiating our exit from the EU and a strong, new partnership with its member states,” said Brexit minister David Davis.
The unamended two-clause bill now moves to the House of Lords, where there may be more opposition from unelected peers — and where May’s Conservative party does not have a majority.
But its passage through the Commons, where two-thirds of MPs had campaigned against Brexit ahead of the June referendum, puts May on course to begin the withdrawal process by the end of March, as she has vowed.