In one of the most important votes in the British parliament’s history, the newly elected lawmakers have resoundingly approved Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. The Withdrawal Agreement Bill passed in the Lower House by 358 votes to 234.

“Today we will deliver on the promise we made to the people and get the Brexit vote wrapped up for Christmas,” Prime Minister Johnson told the House ahead of the vote.

Parliament’s approval ends a three-year-long political impasse, paving the way for the UK to leave the European Union on January 31. The withdrawal bill grants the British government a “transition period” till the end of 2020 to negotiate the country’s future relationship with the EU on important issues such as trade and immigration.

Prime Minister Johnson is committed to hard Brexit, a move that will dismantle the EU laws and regulations placed on the country due to its membership in the bloc, the UK newspapers confirm. “Johnson insisted that Britain would not follow any EU rules after Brexit,” The Telegraph reported. “The Prime Minister made clear that he would pursue a hard Brexit by saying there would be ‘no alignment’ between the two sides, defying the EU’s claim that it was a ‘must’ for any future relationship.”

Friday’s vote comes after Prime Minister Johnson’s Conservative Party won a landslide victory in the general election on December 12, getting 365 seats in the 650-seat British Lower House. The Conservatives, who campaigned on the single promise of “Getting Brexit Done” secured a majority of 80, the party’s biggest election victory in 30 years, decimating Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist Labour Party in its traditional working class heartlands.

BBC reported the passing of the UK Withdrawal Agreement Bill:

MPs have backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan for the UK to leave the EU on 31 January.

They 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 bill would also ban an extension of the transition period – during which the UK is out of the EU but follows many of its rules – past 2020.

The PM said the country was now “one step closer to getting Brexit done”. (…)

The bill had been expected to pass easily after the Conservatives won an 80-seat majority at last week’s general election.

The left-wing, pro-EU media was dismayed at the historic step taken by the Johnson’s government. “Boris Johnson’s government is forcing the Brexit bill through, and all we can do is watch,” The Independent noted in resignation. “Everything has changed. MPs have voted by a majority of 124 to ‘Get Brexit Done’ and there is nothing anyone can do about it.” The Guardian, the country’s leading leftist newspaper, complained about the comfortable majority enjoyed by country’s democratically elected Prime Minister, saying: “From now on, the will and whim of Boris Johnson is iron law.”

The leader of opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, vowed to “continue to oppose the government’s Brexit deal,” The Guardian reported. But there is little the freshly defeated Labour chief can do. Dozens of Labour lawmakers defied him by abstaining from voting against the bill, and six of them even crossed the aisle to vote with the government.

The EU too seems to be resigned to the imminent reality of Brexit. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, accepted the UK parliament’s vote, calling merely for a “level playing field” for EU companies in Britain once Brexit kicks in. If things go according to PM Johnson’s plan, the EU parliament will ratify the UK Withdrawal Agreement Bill on January 29. The EU’s ratification, a mere formality at this stage, will trigger the so-called Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, taking the UK out of the 28-member European bloc two days later.

Prime Minister Johnson: ‘Britain can finally move on.’

[Cover image via YouTube]

 

 
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