Brexit bill receives royal assent and becomes law as EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act
The Brexit bill has received royal assent.
It is now an act of parliament, the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act.The United Kingdom has passed the legislation to make the current Brexit deal with the European Union official UK law, paving the way for the country’s exit from the EU on January 31.
The bill implementing Britain’s exit deal with the European Union officially became law on Thursday ahead of the country’s departure from the bloc on January the 31st. next week.
The legislation passed its final parliamentary stage on Wednesday, after more than three years of bitter wrangling over how, when and even if Brexit should take place.
“At times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we’ve done it,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.
The House of Commons — the lower, elected chamber once the source of endless Brexit drama — quietly and quickly approved the bill on January 9. The House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber, approved the legislation this week with amendments. But the House of Commons overturned the changes on Wednesday, and the House of Lords relented and agreed to accept the legislation without tweaks.
Queen Elizabeth has now given it Royal Assent, the leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said on Twitter. With Parliament agreed, the legislation received royal assent on Thursday, allowing the Queen to give formal approval to a British exit.
Britain is due to leave the bloc at 2300 GMT on Jan. 31. A consent vote in the EU Parliament will take place on Jan 29.
The UK prepares to end its EU membership and chart a new version of its relationship with the bloc. The European Parliament has to approve the Brexit deal on January 29, but this is largely a formality.
Which means the UK and the EU will end their 40-year marriage by the end of this month.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to formally sign the Withdrawal Agreement in the coming days.
Earlier on Wednesday, the lower house of parliament, the House of Commons overturned changes the upper house, the House of Lords, had made to the legislation, including a clause to ensure protections for child refugees after Brexit.
The Lords could have sought to reinstate the changes, but decided not to, allowing the legislation to clear its final parliamentary hurdle in the UK. There will be a consent vote in the EU parliament on January 29.
MPs vote against refugee children being reunited with families
The House of Commons effectively stripped the Withdrawal Agreement Bill — which dictates the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU — of five amendments.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said the reunification of refugee children in EU member states with family members already in the UK was “ultimately a matter which must be negotiated with the EU, and the government is committed to seeking the best possible outcome in those negotiations.”
Another amendment included registering the 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK, which would have provided documents to ensure continuity of their residence in the country. However, that amendment was removed from the bill.
In 2018, then-Prime Minister Theresa May pledged that, even in the event of Brexit, London would allow unaccompanied refugee children to be reunited with their parents in the UK.
The latest developments in the House of Commons have triggered anger from opposition lawmakers, with some accusing the ruling Conservatives of going back on their promises.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative government are planning to “betray the commitments that have been made to the most vulnerable children of all,” said Labour MP Yvette Cooper.