London: UK Parliament finally voted for Brexit in January

LONDON—Britain’s new Parliament voted overwhelmingly Friday to back Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit accord, a significant step

toward the country’s departure from the European Union on Jan. 31.

The vote isn’t the final endorsement that will be needed to pass the agreement into law—that is set happen next month—but it symbolizes

the end of years of political infighting over Brexit.

Mr. Johnson’s Conservative Party now has a majority of 80 in the House of Commons after his comfortable election win last week, and the

House of Commons is packed with pro-Brexit lawmakers, making the vote for the divorce largely a formality.

Lawmakers voted 358 for and 234 against the deal Mr. Johnson negotiated with the EU back in October, which stipulates how the U.K. will

end its 46-year membership of the bloc. It covers issues such as citizens’ rights, a financial settlement the U.K. has agreed to pay the EU

and an arrangement aimed at avoiding a physical border emerging in Ireland.

The law must still go through another vote in the House of Commons and win approval in the country’s upper chamber, the House of Lords.

Such is the government’s majority, this process is expected to be easily completed early next month, allowing the country to quit the EU at

the end of January. The approval of the European Parliament will also be needed, but isn’t in question.

“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,” Mr. Johnson

said.

Friday’s vote is a culmination of one of the most intense political dramas in recent British history. Since Britain opted for Brexit in a 2016

referendum, two prime ministers have been forced to quit and an earlier Brexit deal was rejected three times by lawmakers as a divided

parliament revolted against the government. Mr. Johnson pressed for the election to clear the logjam.

Today Britain’s politics stand fundamentally changed. The Conservative Party, which looked like it would split under the pressure of Brexit,

has emerged stronger than at any time since Margaret Thatcher was in charge in the 1980s. It is also deeply altered.

The party, once of the landed gentry and aspiring middle class, is now in power thanks to blue-collar support. Meanwhile, the opposition

Labour Party is facing a decade out of power as its socialist agenda and its leadership fell flat with voters.

There are challenges ahead. Friday’s vote only sets in train Britain’s split with the EU. It doesn’t define what kind of relationship the country

will have with its biggest trading partner after Brexit.

Mr. Johnson said Friday that he wanted “no alignment” with EU rules, signaling more brinkmanship to come as the British government

prepares to begin the next phase of Brexit.

They will continue for 11 months during which the U.K. will maintain its relations with the EU as they are now. By the end of June, Mr.

Johnson can signal if he wants to extend those talks. He has said he won’t.

The pound has fallen against the dollar in recent days amid fears that the U.K. will enter 2021 without a trade deal with the EU. “There

would be nothing more dangerous for the new future that we want to build than allowing the permanent possibility of extending,” Mr.

Johnson said.

Read the original and full article on The Wall Street Journal