Britain’s parliament finally approved Brexit on Thursday (9 January), allowing it to become the first country to leave the European Union by the end of this month, ending years of arguments that toppled two governments and divided a nation.
MPs gave their initial blessing to the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill before Christmas, and the government set aside just three days this week for detailed scrutiny of the complex text.
The Brexit bill must still be passed by the unelected House of Lords and the European Parliament, which is seen as a formality.
All eyes are now on another major challenge: the negotiation of a new relationship between Britain and the remaining 27 EU nations, which form the world’s largest single market.
The Brexit deal covers separation issues such as EU citizens’ rights and Britain’s financial settlement, and sets out an 11-month transition period in which to agree a wider partnership.
Brussels warns the current deadline of 31 December this year is extremely tight, and has given London the option to ask for more time. But Johnson insists there will be no extension of the transition period, saying that Britain must be free of EU rules as soon as possible.
Source: Euractiv (http://bit.ly/36ImVqC)