Boris Johnson says the UK has ‘crossed the Brexit finish line’ after Parliament approved his deal and cleared the path to leave on January 31.
The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement Bill) cleared its final parliamentary hurdle last night in the House of Lords and is now set to be given royal assent to become law.
The Lords had tried to secure additional rights including for unaccompanied child refugees in an amendment to the bill but MPs in the Commons overturned the peers’ demands.
Mr Johnson’s deal still needs to be ratified by the EU Parliament by Brexit day on the 31 but the PM called for the ‘rancour and division’ to be left behind.
He said the country would ‘move forwards as one United Kingdom’, adding: ‘At times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we’ve done it.
‘Now we can put the rancour and division of the past three years behind us and focus on delivering a bright, exciting future – with better hospitals and schools, safer streets and opportunity spread to every corner of our country.’
The Queen’s formal approval of the bill is expected in the coming days while the European Parliament will hold its consent vote on January 29.
MPs reversed five changes made to the legislation by the Lords during a ‘ping-pong’ phase where the bill moved between the two houses until an agreement was achieved.
Peers had defeated the Government on EU workers having the right to physical proof of their right to remain and on the power of courts to depart from European Court of Justice rulings.
They also worked to ensure the rights of unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their families in the UK post-Brexit. But all five amendments were comfortably reversed by MPs, with majorities ranging from 86 to 103, before the upper House gave way.
The deal was able to pass the Commons with ease after Mr Johnson secured an 80-strong majority in the general election.
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