On a day in which Britain veered ever closer to a "hard Brexit", Jeremy Corbyn was stung – and divisions in the Labour exposed still further
– by the resignation of Clive Lewis, a key ally of the Labour leader in the shadow Cabinet.
MPs again gave their overwhelming backing to the Prime Minister to start withdrawal talks on her terms – by 494 votes to 122 – on the final Commons reading of the landmark legislation.
Crucially, they rejected no fewer than nine attempted amendments, including one to guarantee the future rights of EU nationals, which means a ‘clean’ Bill will go to the upper chamber.
Delighted Brexit supporters believe that will make it harder for the unelected Lords – despite a strong Remain majority – to amend the Bill, because of a reluctance to take on elected MPs.
The bill is now expected to be given royal assent on 7 March – allowing the Prime Minister to formally notify the EU that she is invoking Article 50 at an EU summit later that week.
Pro-Europe MPs loudly hummed “Ode to Joy”, the EU anthem, as the final historic votes were cast, until the Deputy Speaker told them to be quiet.
Just minutes earlier, Clive Lewis, Labour’s shadow Business Secretary, announced he was quitting the shadow Cabinet in order to vote against Article 50, but Diane Abbott, the shadow Home Secretary, backed it.
Ms Abbott missed last week’s vote with a “migraine”, but obeyed Jeremy Corbyn’s three-line whip to vote for the bill this time round.
Met een enorme meerderheid van 494 tegen 122 stemmen keurde het Britse Lagerhuis de Brexit-wet goed, die aan premier Theresa May (foto) volmacht geeft om de EU-uittreding van Groot-Brittannië uit te voeren.
De nog volgende toestemming van het Hogerhuis is volgens waarnemers slechts een formaliteit en geldt zo goed als zeker. Traditiegetrouw volgt het Hogerhuis de beslissingen van de volksvertegenwoordigers.