Brexit clears major hurdle with ease

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UK MPs have voted in favour of the bill seeking parliamentary approval to start the formal Brexit process.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has had a win in the push for Brexit. Picture: AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas

BRITISH politicians have approved the first stage of a bill empowering Prime Minister Theresa May to start pulling Britain out of the European Union.

As a consequence, Brexit has passed its first major legislative hurdle by a decisive 498 to 114.

During two days of debate in the House of Commons, many legislators from both the government and opposition said they would respect voters’ June 23 decision to leave the EU and back the bill.

The legislation will give Mrs May the right to trigger article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty and start exit talks.

But pro-EU members of Parliament from opposition parties will try to insert more amendments at the next stage of the process, seeking to prevent an economy-shocking “hard Brexit”.

The Conservative government wants to have the bill approved by early March so it can meet a self-imposed March 31 deadline for triggering two years of EU divorce talks.

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