Thursday 9 January 2020 8:09 pm

Johnson's Brexit bill passes Commons without fanfare

Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal was passed by MPs without fanfare on Thursday afternoon, with the Prime Minister not even marking the moment with a valedictory speech. 

The Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) passed its third reading in the Commons with 330 votes to 231, and will now move to the Lords for further scrutiny. It is expected to gain royal assent by 23 January, in plenty of time before the Brexit deadline of 31 January. 

The lack of drama surrounding the bill’s final Commons debate – which was poorly attended compared with previous sessions, when the chamber was tightly packed with MPs, as every vote mattered – made clear the difference Johnson’s 80-seat majority made. 

But outside Westminster, the next set of challenges begins as negotiators prepare for the second phase of Brexit talks, aimed at thrashing out a free trade agreement before the end of the year. 

This morning the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier insisted the “huge agenda” – which includes services – “will take more than 11 months”. 

Main image: Getty