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Brexit vote: MPs vote in favour of government bill to trigger EU exit process

Majority of 498 votes to 114

MPs have voted in favour of the Government bill triggering the formal process of leaving the European Union.

Legislation to allow Theresa May to start formal Brexit talks has cleared its first Commons hurdle after MPs gave it a second reading by 498 votes to 114 - a majority of 384.

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But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was unable to contain a revolt on his frontbench as two shadow cabinet ministers quit so they could defy his orders and vote against the Bill.

Shadow environment secretary and York Central MP Rachael Maskell and shadow equalities minister and Brent Central MP Dawn Butler both defied a three-line whip so they could vote in line with their heavily Remain-backing constituencies.

Mr Corbyn will decide later on how to respond to an expected rebellion among junior frontbenchers over Article 50.

The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrat leadership opposed the bill.

A total of 47 Labour MPs defied Mr Corbyn's orders and voted against the Bill.

Former chancellor Ken Clarke was the only Conservative to vote against the legislation.

As MPs prepared to vote for the first time on the Bill the Prime Minister told MPs: "That white paper will be published tomorrow".

The Prime Minister told MPs it was her "intention and expectation" the Government would be able to offer assurances about the position of EU nationals resident in the UK although she wanted see similar assurances for British nationals in the EU.

"We will be working to try to ensure that this is an issue we can deal with at the very early stage in the negotiations.

"It was one of the objectives I set out in the plan. It will be referenced in the white paper," she said.

On Tuesday, MPs spoke until midnight after Brexit Secretary David Davis introduced the legislation by stressing the Government's determination to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, starting the formal two-year countdown to leaving the EU.

The Government was forced to seek Parliament's approval for its plans by a Supreme Court ruling last week.


From Belfast Telegraph