Boris Johnson calls for end of ‘rancour and division’ as Brexit bill passes final hurdle

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Boris Johnson's Brexit deal has finally been approved (PA)

Boris Johnson has called for the “rancour and division” of the past three years to come to an end after his Brexit bill was finally approved by Parliament.

The prime minister hailed the crossing of the “Brexit finish line” as peers in the House of Lords ended the bout of ‘ping-pong’ with the Commons on Wednesday evening.

The Lords had tried to secure additional rights including for unaccompanied child refugees but bowed to the will of MPs after the Prime Minister’s huge majority helped overturn the peers' demands.

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill being carried between the two Houses of Parliament by the Clerk of Legislation Liam Lawrence Smyth (PA)
The Prime Minister hailed the crossing of the 'Brexit finish line' (AP)

Now the legislation just needs Royal Assent to be formally granted by the Queen and the agreement to be approved by the European Parliament by Brexit day on 31 January.

Speaking after the bill passed, the PM said the nation would "move forwards as one United Kingdom", adding: "At times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we've done it.

"Now we can put the rancour and division of the past three years behind us and focus on delivering a bright, exciting future – with better hospitals and schools, safer streets and opportunity spread to every corner of our country.”

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The Queen's formal approval of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill is expected in the coming days while the European Parliament will hold its consent vote on 29 January.

MPs had reversed five changes made to the legislation by the Lords during the ping-pong phase where the bill moved between the two Houses until agreement is achieved.

Peers had defeated the Government on EU workers having the right to physical proof of their right to remain and on the power of courts to depart from European Court of Justice rulings.

Peers in the House of Lords ended the Parliamentary ping-pong on Wednesday evening (PA)
Anti-Brexit protestors outside the Houses of Parliament as the bill finally passed (PA)

They also worked to ensure the rights of unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their families in the UK post-Brexit.

But all five amendments were comfortably reversed by MPs, with majorities ranging from 86 to 103, before the upper house gave way.

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