LONDON — Britain was on course Thursday to finally end its membership of the European Union (EU) in just three weeks time.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s fast-track race to “get Brexit done” cleared its final hurdle in the House of Commons when his European Union Withdrawal Bill cleared its final hurdle by a vote of 330 to 231.
The bill will now be debated in the House of Lords next week, but given its clear run in the Commons, it is not expected to face any tough opposition, and is almost certain to win Royal Assent from Queen Elizabeth within days.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said he had no doubt politicians in the Lords “will have heard the resounding message from the British people on Dec 12 (general election day)” and will have seen the clear will of the House of Commons.
Not joining in the celebrations was Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party’s leader at Westminster, who warned Brexit would cause a constitutional crisis for the United Kingdom.
“Today will go down as the final nail in the coffin for this broken union — as Scotland faces being dragged out of the EU against our will by an extreme Tory government with no mandate here,” he told MPs after the voting concluded Thursday.
Blackford said Scotland would at some point have an independence referendum and would remain as an independent European country.
Johnson on Wednesday ruled out a Scottish referendum, saying people of Scotland voted in a “once in a generation” vote in 2014 to remain part of the UK.
The bill paves the way for Britain to end, more than 3.5 years after the referendum, its EU membership on Jan 31 and strike a new trade deal with Brussels by the end of the year. Until then Britain will continue to follow all EU rules and regulations.