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1 Feb, 2017 19:33

'We can't ignore the people': Parliament backs Brexit bill in landslide vote (VIDEO)

'We can't ignore the people': Parliament backs Brexit bill in landslide vote (VIDEO)

Britain’s departure from the EU moved a step closer on Wednesday evening, when MPs voted overwhelmingly in favor of the government’s Brexit bill, by 498 to 114 votes.

After two days of debate, MPs voted to push the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill through to the next stage. After the bill fully clears parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May can trigger Article 50 and begin formal negotiations with the EU.

The bill, which was deliberately tightly worded to limit the ability of MPs to amend it, was put forward by May’s government after it lost a Supreme Court case earlier this month on whether she had the power to trigger a breakaway from the EU without consulting parliament.

In an earlier vote, MPs voted against an amendment calling for Article 50 legislation to be abandoned, by 336 votes to 100.

READ MORE: Brexit talks will be on ‘humongous scale,’ Britain's former ambassador to EU warns

George Osborne, the Remain Conservative chancellor during the Brexit referendum, warned MPs against blocking the bill, saying it would risk “putting parliament against people.” He said for parliament to prevent Article 50 from being invoked would “alienate people who already feel alienated.”

He predicted that talks with the EU will be bitter and involve a trade-off between “access and money.” 

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband described the vote on the government’s bill as a “fateful moment in the country’s history.” He confirmed he would be honoring the country’s mandate and voting for the Bill.

“We do not want to give the sense that people having voted for Brexit because they felt ignored, are being ignored once again,” he said. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ordered his MPs to back the government’s bill.

The final vote on Article 50 will be held in the House of Commons next Wednesday after three days of debate.

It has been confirmed that May’s White Paper containing her Brexit plan will be published on Thursday.

The government remains confident that the bill will complete its passage through parliament, including the House of Lords, in time for May to meet her May 31 deadline for invoking Article 50.