Brexit withdrawal bill passes House of Commons

Parliament has voted to leave the EU

Friday, December 20, 2019

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill has passed its first hurdle after MPs approved a second reading.

The ‘ayes’ emerged with a majority of 124 – 358 to 234. It was the first chance MPs had to vote on the deal since the general election, and the first vote for many newly-elected representatives.

Boris Johnson told MPs the Bill must not be seen as a victory for one party or faction, and urged MPs to “move on and discard the old labels of Leave and Remain”.

“The very words seem tired to me - as defunct as Big-enders and Little-enders, or Montagues and Capulets at the end of the play,” the Prime Minister said.

“Now is the time to act together as one reinvigorated nation, one United Kingdom, filled with renewed confidence in our national destiny.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the government’s handling of Brexit was a “national embarrassment” and the Prime Minister was offering a “terrible” Brexit deal.

“This deal is a road map for the reckless direction in which the Government and our Prime Minister are determined to take our country,” he said.

However he recognised the “clear message” from voters handed down in last week’s election.

Speaking earlier in the day, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the argument over Leave or Remain was over.

“As a result of the general election and the result of the majority the Government has got and the mandate the Government's got we're leaving the EU,” he said.

“Whatever side we were on, or no side at all, the Leave/Remain argument goes with it.”

He added: “That doesn't mean that the deal negotiated by the Prime Minister is a good deal - it isn't.”

Downing Street had defended Mr Johnson’s Brexit Bill, saying the Prime Minister had the overwhelming backing of the public.

“The public overwhelmingly backed his vision for getting Brexit done and we are now getting on with delivering it,” his spokesman said.

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