UK lower chamber passes EU withdrawal bill

UK lower chamber passes EU withdrawal bill

LONDON-Anadolu Agency
UK lower chamber passes EU withdrawal bill

The U.K. House of Commons on Jan. 9 approved the EU Withdrawal Bill after its final reading, paving the way for full legislation.

The bill based on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's revised deal was passed by MPs in a 330 to 231 votes with a majority of 99.

It is expected to complete the House of Lords stages without major disagreements and to wait for Royal assent to become law.

According to the bill, the U.K. will leave the EU on Jan. 31 when a transition period, which will expire on Dec. 31, 2020, will kick in.

The EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill passed the first stage of legislative process in October but the process was paused by Johnson when he failed to receive approval on a timetable to make it law, before the previous Brexit deadline of Oct. 31.

Missing the Oct. 31 deadline and being forced to ask for an extension from the EU, Johnson had called early general election after the EU granted an extension until Jan. 31, 2020.

Securing a majority in the House of Commons in December poll, Johnson cleared the way for the bill to become a law before the end of January.

The revised deal reached between Johnson and the EU officials include a lighter version of the backstop for Northern Ireland and the right to decide on alignment with the EU for the region's yet-to-be-formed devolved government.

The backstop clause was the thorniest issue for previous deal reached by former Prime Minister Theresa May, which she repeatedly failed to reach approving numbers in the House of Commons.

According to Johnson's deal, Northern Ireland will remain aligned with the EU rules for a period of four years and the term will be reviewed by the local Executive when it expires with an option to extend it.

The U.K. decided to leave the bloc after more than 40 years of membership in a referendum held in June 2016.