British lawmakers have approved a legislation that puts the country one step ahead on the path towards a formal divorce from the European Union.
The MPs voted 498-114 on Wednesday for legislation, seeking the parliament’s approval for the start of formal talks for Brexit.
The government of Prime Minister Theresa May intends to start the two-year negotiations with the EU by the end of March.
The legislative process, demanded by a Supreme Court ruling, could end by March 7.
On June 23, 2016, nearly 52 percent of Britons voted in a referendum to end their country’s 42-year membership in the EU.
More than two-thirds of the members of the House of Commons opposed the decision afterwards.
Wednesday’s vote would authorize May to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty – the legal process necessary to exit the bloc.
Another three days of debate should still be dedicated for the bill in House of Commons before it goes to the Lords.
According to Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, “the Tories and Labour have failed future generations today by supporting a hard Brexit.”
The opposition Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, also said in a statement that “the battle of the week ahead is to shape Brexit negotiations to put jobs, living standards and accountability center stage.”
“Labour’s amendments are the real agenda. The challenge is for MPs of all parties to ensure the best deal for Britain, and that doesn’t mean giving Theresa May a free hand to turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven.”