Published: Fri, January 24, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Brexit bill clears final hurdle, becomes law after receiving royal assent

Brexit bill clears final hurdle, becomes law after receiving royal assent

"We find ourselves here today, that our parliament has been ignored, our government has been ignored and, against the expressed wishes of the people of Scotland that voted in the referendum and reaffirmed the right of the people of Scotland to determine their own destiny, that that has been ignored". The landscape transformed after the December 2019 snap poll, which handed Boris Johnson a thumping 80-seat majority largely on the back of his Brexit agenda.

His 80-seat majority in the elected House of Commons meant he could sweep aside objections from pro-EU politicians in the upper chamber of Parliament, the Lords, and break the deadlock that cost his predecessor, Theresa May, her job past year.

Boris Johnson has said the United Kingdom has "crossed the Brexit finish line" after Parliament passed legislation implementing the withdrawal deal.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had refused to accept any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which will enact Britain's departure from the European Union, facing down opposition lawmakers who say he has hardened its terms.

The draft legislation, which is needed to ensure the UK's departure from the bloc is an orderly one, was then sent to the Queen to be given Royal Assent.

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

If, as expected, peers agree to drop their concerns, Queen Elizabeth II could give her formal assent to the legislation as early as Thursday.

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Despite Johnson's repeated promise to "get Brexit done" on January 31, the day of departure only marks the start of the country's exit from the EU.

The UK is set to cross the "Brexit finish line" next week, but the impact of its departure from the bloc will be felt for years to come. "Now we can put the rancour and division of the past three years behind us and focus on delivering a bright, exciting future - with better hospitals and schools, safer streets and opportunity spread to every corner of our country", he said.

Under the government of former prime minister Theresa May, the withdrawal bill went through a bumpy ride in the parliament.

The wrangling will not stop the Brexit bill from becoming law within days, because the House of Commons can override the unelected Lords.

Official photographs of the official signing ceremony, conducted before dawn in the European Council's headquarters in Brussels, showed chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier looking on.

Britain and the European Union will begin negotiations next month on their future ties, racing to strike new relationships for trade, security and other areas by the end of 2020.

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