British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says “history has been made” following the UK Parliament’s go-ahead to begin the country’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU).
Johnson made the comments on Wednesday night, shortly after the MPs voted 498-114 to pass a bill that allows Prime Minister Theresa May to trigger the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and begin talks with the EU.
“I’ve just voted three times in the House of Commons for an absolutely momentous thing – to give our Prime Minister the right to trigger Article 50 and Britain to begin the path out of the EU,” he said, calling it a “momentous” night at the Parliament.
The vote was preceded by over 14 hours of debate and bitter clash in Parliament in the past two days, where nearly 100 lawmakers talked about Brexit.
“We are going to be making an amazingly positive contribution to our continent as we always have done and always will. But we are now able to forge a new identity with new free trade deals as global Britain,” said Johnson.
The opposition to the legislation came mostly from the Labour Party with 47 votes and the Scottish National Party (SNP) with 50 votes.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman said the vote showed that the party “can’t speak for themselves, let alone speak for the country.”
“They’re hopelessly divided and can’t even agree whether they should back the Bill to implement the decision taken by the public to leave the EU,” he said. “What we do know is that they aren’t interested in controlling our own laws or immigration and are completely out of touch with ordinary working people.”
Corbyn had tried to prevent the outcome of last year’s June 23 referendum, where 52 percent of Britons voted to end the country’s decades-long membership in the EU.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron attacked both Labour and the ruling Tories after the vote, saying they “have failed future generations today by supporting a hard Brexit.”
“Labour’s leadership tonight have waved the white flag. They are not an opposition, they are cheerleaders,” he added. “The Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to give the British people the final say on the deal.”
May was supposed to publish a white paper on Thursday, laying out her Brexit plans in detail.