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Confirmed: UK will leave European Union on 31 January after Queen rubber-stamps Brexit Bill

Confirmed: UK will leave European Union on 31 January after Queen rubber-stamps Brexit Bill
2 min read

The UK is guaranteed to leave the European Union after the Queen rubber-stamped the Prime Minister's Brexit Bill.

MPs were told that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill had received Royal Assent after clearing its final parliamentary hurdle on Wednesday evening.

The formal announcement was made in the Commons by deputy speaker Nigel Evans on Thursday, who told MPs: "I have to notify the House in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967 that Her Majesty has signified her Royal Assent to the following act: European Union Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020."

It came after MPs voted to reject five amendments made to the WAB by peers, including Lord Dubs's attempt to ensure the right of unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their families in the UK post-Brexit.

Mr Johnson said the country could now "move forwards as one" after "years of rancour" which brought repeated delays to the Brexit process, and forced former Prime Minister Theresa May from office.

The announcement, which comes three-and-a-half years after the country narrowly voted to leave the European Union, was also welcomed by the Department for Exiting the EU, which tweeted: "The Brexit act is now law. We are leaving on 31 January. We are getting it done."

Lawmakers in the European Parliament are due to give final approval to the agreement in a vote next Wednesday, but the result is expected to be a formality.

The UK's relationship with the bloc is set to remain unchanged during an 11 month transition period in which negotiators will thrash out details on the future relationship, including new agreements on security, trade and free movement.

But Mr Johnson has already rejected suggestions the transition period could be extended, despite concerns from European leaders that the tight schedule will not provide enough time to agree the new provisions.

Meanwhile, the formal announcement was met with anger from opposition MPs, with the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford saying the country now faced a "constitutional crisis".

"All three of the UK's devolved Parliaments refused to give their legislative consent for Boris Johnson's damaging Brexit agreement, and the UK government's decision to plough ahead in spite of this shows absolutely no regard for the devolution settlement," he said.

"Scotland did not vote for Brexit, and we did not vote for Boris Johnson's Tory government."

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