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UK push for Brexit clears first legislative hurdle

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By Seamus Kearney
UK push for Brexit clears first legislative hurdle

Britain’s push to leave the European Union has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

Members of the UK parliament have voted in favour of allowing the introduction of a bill that would let the government begin Brexit negotiations.

MPs voted by 498 to 114 in favour of the bill proceeding to the next legislative stage.

One MP was heard yelling out “suicide” when the result was announced.

The result paves the way for the government to launch divorce proceedings with the EU by the end of March.

The leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, backed the bill, but 47 of his MPs rebelled and voted against it.

Earlier the MPs rejected an attempt by pro-EU Scottish nationalists to throw out the bill.

A majority of voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU in last year’s referendum on the issue.

After Article 50 of the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty is triggered by Britain there would be two years of negotiations before Brexit takes effect.