Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 January 2020

Parliament backs Boris Johnson’s plan to get Brexit done by January 31

Prime Minister’s newly-won majority saw his bill pass with ease

Boris Johnson has vowed to take the UK out the European Union by January 31. AFP PHOTO / Jessica Taylor /UK Parliament
Boris Johnson has vowed to take the UK out the European Union by January 31. AFP PHOTO / Jessica Taylor /UK Parliament

The UK parliament has backed Boris Johnson’s plan to take the country out of the European Union by January 31 as the Prime Minister compared Brexit to Romeo and Juliet.

With a landslide majority since following last week’s election, Mr Johnson saw his withdrawal bill backed by 358 MPs to 234 in the new parliament. The final ratification will take place in the New Year.

During his election campaign he had vowed to get Brexit done after three years of deep uncertainty. After leaving the bloc the UK will enter into a transition period and seek a trade deal with the EU.

"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 - as defunct as Big-enders and Little-enders, or Montagues and Capulets at the end of the play." Mr Johnson told parliament before the vote.

"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, to begin the healing for which the whole people of this country yearn."

In a change to the bill, Mr Johnson made it illegal to extend those talks beyond the end of next year. It raised fears of a hard break from the EU that could devastate the economy.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who will step down from heading up Labour after his party’s devastating loss to the Conservatives, said Mr Johnson’s Brexit plan was “terrible”.

"This deal does not bring certainty for communities or for business or for the workforce, in fact it does the opposite and hardwires the risk of a no-deal Brexit next year,” Mr Corbyn said.

The Conservatives won last week’s general election with a majority of 80.

Chief Executive of UK Finance Stephen Jones said the vote was a step closed to leaving the EU but only the start of "what is required to restore the predictable legal and economic backdrop necessary for businesses including financial services firms to operate successfully".

“Both sides will benefit from maintaining deep and integrated financial and capital markets, ensuring firms can continue providing key cross-border financial products and services to their customers.

“The UK should also work with the EU to build a clear institutional mechanism for regulatory dialogue as well as maintaining a strong voice at a global level to influence standard-setting bodies key to the industry

Updated: December 20, 2019 08:52 PM

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