Brexit: First hurdle cleared as lawmakers pass crucial bill approving UK's exit from EU

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Feb 02, 2017, 12:28 AM IST

As a result of these gains, pressure is piling up on the opposition's under-fire socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photograph:(Getty)

British Prime Minister Theresa May received Parliament's nod for invoking Article 50 that will start the process of UK's exit from the European Union.

The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill was passed by the House of Commons with a majority of 384 as 498 votes were cast in favour of the bill and 114 against it.

The bill will be debated in Commons for another three days and then go to the Lords before it can become a law.

"I lost the case. I made it with passion, I sacrificed my position in government for it," said former Conservative finance minister George Osborne. "In the end we have to now accept that in a democracy the majority has spoken," he added.

The Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn had issued a whip ordering his MPs to vote in favour of the bill.

However, many Labour lawmakers joined their counterparts from the Scottish National Party (SNP), the Liberal Democrat party, the SDLP, Green MP Caroline Lucas and Tory MP Ken Clarke in opposing the legislation that will trigger Article 50 and start the process of UK's exit from the bloc.  

Theresa May said that a White Paper on the Brexit strategy will be published on Thursday. She was responding to a query by Conservative MP Maria Miller.

"The White Paper will reflect the plan already set out by the Prime Minister in her Brexit speech," a Downing Street spokesperson told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday morning, PTI reported.

The government was expected to win despite the Liberal Democrats and SNP voting against it.

(WION with inputs from agencies)