INTERNATIONAL

MPs approve Brexit Bill, U.K. set for Jan. 31 exit

It will now go to the House of Lords

Britain passed a major milestone on the road to Brexit when the House of Commons on Thursday approved a Bill authorising the country’s departure from the European Union at the end of the month.

Lawmakers voted by 330-231 to pass the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which sets the terms of Britain’s departure from the 28-nation bloc. The comfortable majority won by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in an election last month secured the Bill’s passage despite the opposition of smaller parties.

The Bill was approved after three days of debate that brought none of the frayed tempers, late-night sessions and knife-edge votes that marked previous rounds of Brexit wrangling over the past year.

After passing through Parliament’s unelected House of Lords — which can delay but not overturn the result in the Commons — the Bill should become law in time for the U.K. to leave the EU on the scheduled date of January 31 and become the first nation to quit the bloc.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said he welcomed the “constructive scrutiny” of the Lords but hoped the Upper House would not try to delay the Bill.

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