British MPs approve legislation to start Brexit

House of Commons votes in favour of allowing Theresa May to trigger article 50

British MPs have given British prime minister Theresa May their authority to formally begin Brexit in an overwhelming House of Commons vote.

The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal Bill) was approved at a third reading, its final Commons stage, after opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn ordered his Labour MPs to back it.

However, the Labour leader was unable to prevent the resignation of senior shadow cabinet minister Clive Lewis, who quit the frontbench to vote against the Bill, in defiance of a three-line whip.

The legislation, which will give Ms May the authority to begin talks on the UK’s exit from the EU under article 50 of the EU treaties, was passed by 494 votes to 122.


It will now have to pass through the House of Lords before Ms May can invoke article 50, which she has promised to do by April.