UK lawmakers pass Brexit deal with ample majority
London, Dec 30 (efe-epa).- Members of the United Kingdom’s Parliament on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of the government’s post-Brexit deal with the European Union.
Following a fast-tracked debate, a total of 521 lawmakers in the House of Commons, the majority of whom took part remotely, voted to write the EU (Future Relationship) into UK law just a day before the Brexit transition period is due to come to a close.
Only 73 MPs, the majority from pro-EU parties, voted against the bill, which now heads for scrutiny in the House of Lords before returning to the Commons for royal assent.
Following the debate, Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement at a short press conference.
“The treaty that I’ve just signed is not the end — it is a new beginning, and, I think, the beginning of what will be a wonderful relationship with our friends and partners in the European Union,” he said, describing it as an “excellent deal” for the country.
His negotiating team, which had long-touted a no-deal Brexit as a viable alternative to a bad deal with the EU, announced an agreement on 24 December, Christmas Eve.
The leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, said his MPs would back the government’s EU deal.
He added that voting against it was tantamount to voting for a no-deal Brexit.
Starmer did, however, describe the deal as “slim” and said he hoped it could be improved in the future.
European Union leaders signed the future trade agreement earlier in the day, allowing for it to be provisionally applied until Members of the European Parliament can ratify it during a plenary slated for early March.