Boost for Boris Johnson as Brexit deal bill clears first parliamentary hurdle

Posted On: 
22nd October 2019

Boris Johnson's Brexit deal has cleared its first parliamentary hurdle after MPs backed its general principles.

MPs have voted to approve the Withdrawal Agreement Bill at second reading.
PA Images

In a major victory for the Prime Minister, the Commons voted 329 to 299 in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill at second reading.

He was boosted by the support of Labour MPs from Leave-voting seats, as well as the backing of most of the 21 former Tory MPs who were booted out of the party for backing the Benn Act blocking a no-deal Brexit.

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The result is the first time MPs have supported a Brexit deal, after the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May was defeated on three occasions.

It means the draft legislation will now move on to committee stage, during which MPs will attempt to amend it.

Urging Parliament to back his deal, Mr Johnson said it represented a "new beginning for an outward looking country".

"The deal is here on the table, the legislation is here before us," he said. "A clear majority in the country is imploring us to get Brexit done.

"Let us do it now and tonight."

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the PM's deal, which was agreed in Brussels last week, was "nothing less than a charter for deregulation and a race to the bottom".

He said: "They always say the devil is in the detail. And, having seen the detail, it confirms everything we thought about this rotten deal.

"A charter for deregulation across the board, paving the way for Trump-style trade deals that will attack jobs, rights and protections, and open up our precious National Health Service and other public services for further privatisation.

"It is a vision for the future of our country that my Party, the Labour Party, cannot sign up to and does not support."