British PM Boris Johnson wins vote on Brexit bargain in time for Christmas

London: British lawmakers gave preliminary approval Friday to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill, clearing the way for the U.K. to leave the European Union next month.

The House of Commons voted 358-234 for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

It has to be accepted by Parliament’s upper chamber, the House of Lords, and will receive more scrutiny and possible amendment month. But Johnson’s commanding Conservative majority in Parliament means it’s almost certain to become law in January. Britain will then leave the EU on Jan. 31.

Johnson said Friday that passing the bill would end the”acrimony and anguish” that has consumed the country because it voted in 2016 to leave the EU. Opponents argue that leaving the EU will trigger uncertainty over Britain’s future trade relations.

Friday’s vote was a moment of victory for Johnson, who won a commanding parliamentary majority in last week’s general election on a promise to end more than three years of political gridlock and lead Britain out of the European Union on Jan. 31.

The U.K.’s passing will open a new stage of Brexit, as Britain and the EU race to strike new connections for trade, security and host of other areas by the end of 2020.

Friday’s vote was , however, painted by johnson . Opening debate on the bill that he said, optimistically, that after Jan, 31,”Brexit is going to be done, it will be over.” “The sorry story of the previous 3 1/2 years will be at an end and we will have the ability to move forward together,” he said.

“This is a time when we proceed and discard the old labels of’leave’ and’remain,'” Johnson added.

Britain voted narrowly to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum. But previous efforts by Johnson and his predecessor, Theresa May, to pass a Brexit deal through the U.K. Parliament foundered as lawmakers objected to sections of the agreement and demanded a bigger say in the procedure. Johnson’s election success finally gives him the ability.

“The battle to stop Brexit is finished.”

The bill commits Britain to leaving the EU on Jan. 31 and to concluding trade talks with the bloc by the end of 2020. Trade experts and EU officials say striking a free trade deal within 11 months will be a struggle, but Johnson insists that he won’t agree to any more delays, The Brexit bill was amended to bar ministers from agreeing to extend the transition period with the EU.

That has set off alarm bells among business es, who fear that means the nation will face a”no-deal” Brexit at the beginning of 2021. Economists say that would disrupt trade with the EU – Britain’s largest trading partner – and dip the U.K. into recession. Johnson said Friday he was confident of striking a”deep, particular and democratically accountable partnership with these nations we’re proud to call our closest friends” from the Brexit deadline.

He said extending the transition period would only extend Brexit”acrimony and distress… a torture that came to resemble Lucy snatching away Charlie Brown’s football.” For all Johnson’s discussion of”getting Brexit done” on Jan. 31, details of Britain’s negotiating position – and even who will lead the trade discussions – remain unknown.

Armed with his 80-seat majority in the 650-seat House of Commons, Johnson has stripped out parts of this Brexit bill that gave lawmakers a role in negotiating a future trade deal and required ministers to give Parliament with regular updates. The exemptions were inserted in an effort to win opposition lawmakers’ support for the Brexit invoice – financing which Johnson no longer needs.

A promise that employees’ rights won’t be eroded after Brexit has also been removed from the bill, although the government says it will enshrine employment rights in legislation. Opposition Labour Party lawmaker Hilary Benn said Johnson’s bill was”a gamble with our nation’s economy.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his 203 lawmakers would oppose the Brexit bill due to”the reckless direction in which the government and the prime minister are determined to take our country.” “There is a much better and fairer way for this country to leave the European Union,” he said. Even without opposition votes, the bill is expected to complete its passage through Parliament in January, in time for Britain to leave the 28-nation bloc on Jan. 31.

The divorce deal also needs to be ratified by the European Parliament. European Parliament vice president Pedro Silva Pereira said officials expect that to take place by Jan. 29. Very little will change after Brexit. Britain will continue being an EU member in all but name during the transition period that ends in December 2020.