Boris Johnson’s EU Withdrawal Bill passes first stage as MPs wish for ‘a merry Brexmas’
Boris Johnson saw his EU Withdrawal Bill easily pass its latest hurdle in the Commons as MPs signed off for Christmas by wishing their colleagues “a merry Brexmas”.
The legislation passed its second reading with a whopping majority of 124 votes, in the final act before Parliament closed until the new year.
MPs voted by 358 votes to 254, paving the way for the UK to exit the European Union at the end of January next year.
Those in favour included six Labour MPs; Sarah Champion, Rosie Cooper, Jon Cruddas, Emma Lewell-Buck, Graham Morris and Toby Perkins, who all defied Jeremy Corbyn's three-line whip to vote against the bill.
Earlier the Prime Minister urged members to back it so he can “break the deadlock and finally to get Brexit done”.
He added: “Because this Bill, and this juncture in our national story, must not be seen as a victory for one party or one faction over another.
“This is the time when we move on and discard the old labels of leave and remain, in fact the very words seem tired to me.”
Mr Johnson finished by saying: “Now is the moment to come together and write a new and exciting chapter in our national story to forge a new partnership with our European friends, to stand tall in the world and to begin the healing for which the whole people of this country yearn.”
But in response Mr Corbyn attacked the government mishandling of Brexit saying it has “delivered nothing but political gridlock, chaos and economic uncertainty”.
And the Labour leader said while his party respect’s the result of the EU referendum, he criticised Mr Johnson’s bill as “a terrible deal for our country”.
He said: “This deal doesn’t bring certainty for communities or for business and workforces.
“In fact it does the opposite and hard-wires in the risk of a No Deal Brexit in a year’s time.”
During the debate backbench Tory MP Rachel Maclean had said: "I want to wish everybody a very Merry Brexmas."
And the leading Brexiteer Mark Francois maintained the festive theme, saying: "The people have spoken and we will listen. We will do what they want and when the sun rises on February 1 it will do so on a free country.
"All I want for Christmas is not EU."