PM Johnson wins vote on Brexit deal making a giant step to 31 January exit

British PM Boris Johnson won on Friday evening approval in parliament for his Brexit deal, making an important step towards ensuring Britain’s departure from the EU by January-end. MPs voted by 358 to 234 to pass the second reading of the legislation aimed at implementing Britain’s biggest policy shift in more than 40 years, news wires reported.

While Johnson has the support of his 365 Conservative lawmakers in the 650-seat lower house, some opposition members criticised him for removing the opportunity for parliament to have oversight over his negotiating priorities in the next phase of talks, and for getting rid of workers’ protections.

Getting “the Brexit vote wrapped up for Christmas” was the main aim for Johnson showing that, unlike his predecessor Theresa May who was thwarted in parliament, he now has free rein to drive Brexit forward despite continued criticism from opposition lawmakers. “This is the time when we move on and discard the old labels of ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ ... now is the time to act together as one reinvigorated nation, one United Kingdom,” Johnson told parliament before the vote.

The final stages of ratification will take place after Christmas, with the lower house of parliament having until 9 January to approve the legislation, giving it just over three weeks to then pass through the upper house and receive Royal Assent.

But after the EU, Britain will need to secure new trading arrangements with the Union, which the PM said would see the country agree a trade deal with no alignment to the bloc’s rules. European Council President Charles Michel said a level playing field on rules and standards “remains a must” for any future relationship.

Just a week after he won the largest Conservative majority since Margaret Thatcher in 1987, Johnson has set out an ambitious government programme, with securing Brexit at the top of his agenda to repay the trust of voters

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