UK lawmakers agree on legislation to leave EU at end of month
Lawmakers in the House of Commons agreed Thursday to move forward with legislation to leave the European Union at the end of the month, 10 months after the United Kingdom was first scheduled to exit.
The House of Commons in a 330 to 231 vote approved legislation to carry out plans to take the U.K. out the EU by Jan. 31, The New York Times reported. The long-contentious plan for Brexit is now likely to be executed in a matter of weeks, with the legislation being completed and written into law as soon as next week.
The legislation will move to the unelected second chamber, the House of Lords, which can make edits, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party hold a majority in the House of Commons to overturn those changes, the Times reported.
Although it is unclear what will happen after Jan. 31, it is expected that the U.K. will enter a transition period to work with the EU on a long-term trade deal, according to the Times. Analysts say the effects of Brexit will likely not be felt until January 2021.
Thursday’s vote was in contrast to previous ones in the fight over Brexit, with only a few dozen attending the opening statements, although most of the lawmakers arrived by the time debate ended, according to the newspaper.
Lawmakers had criticized Johnson for the January deadline, saying it was too quick, but debate on the legislation finished three hours early Thursday.
Brexit has been a source of controversy for the U.K. since the referendum was passed in 2016, leading two prime ministers to lose their jobs. The parliamentary debate over Brexit has led to many tense votes and had several lawmakers and analysts wondering if it would ever materialize.
After a deadlock led to a general election last month, Johnson and the Conservative Party obtained a majority in Parliament with the promise to “get Brexit done.”