Britain's Parliament Votes to Trigger Brexit

The main opposition Labour Party said it will try to amend the bill but not block it.

Rachael Maskell has stepped down as Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs following the vote in Parliament over triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. However, a few prominent MPs, such as Tory Ken Clarke and Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said they would vote against the bill.

Last month, UK Prime Minister Theresa May presented 12 points of her Brexit plan, which envisaged the country leaving the EU Single Market.

The vote was the result of a legal challenge by a group of campaigners led by Gina Miller which went all the way to the Supreme Court.

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Labour's shadow Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said the white paper contained "nothing" new and failed to answer whether MPs would be given a "meaningful" vote on the terms of the U.K.'s divorce from the European Union at the end of the process.

Many more Labour MPs may ultimately end up voting against the bill.

The paper comes alongside the so-called "Brexit bill" which likely conclude with May being given the authority to trigger "Article 50" which will begin formal negotiations with the European Union.

If the Brexit bill's passage through parliament is on schedule and May formally notifies Brussels by initiating Article 50 by the end of March, the exit process is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

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Ex-shadow environment secretary Maskell told Sky News that in the referendum her York constituents overwhelmingly backed staying in the European Union and "nobody in this country supported a Theresa May Brexit, a hard Brexit, that's going to take us out of the single market".

Keir Starmer told the Commons this afternoon that he and his colleagues were being hampered in their attempts to ask decent questions and properly scrutinise the government's approach because they had been handed the document just minutes before David Davis gave his statement on the publication.

The former cabinet minister dismissed suggestions he was duty-bound to vote in line with the referendum result, telling MPs "no sensible country has referendums" and the issue of European Union membership was "most unsuitable" for a public vote.

The bill's passage in the House of Commons (498 in favour; 114 against) was marked by deep divide across and within parties, with Labour demonstrating the most tensions.

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With the Commons set to vote on the government's short Brexit bill, some time before 7pm, several Labour MPs have confirmed their stance in the last 24 hours.


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