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Boris Johnson calls for ‘rancour and division’ to be left behind after Brexit bill clears parliament

Boris Johnson has called for “rancour and division” to be left behind after his Brexit bill passed its final parliamentary hurdle, enabling Britain to leave the EU at the end of this month.

Three-and-a-half years after Britons backed Brexit in the 2016 referendum, the prime minister’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill is set to be given royal assent and become law in the coming days.

The prime minister has said the country will now “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.

Image: Once Britain has left the EU, both sides will enter into an 11-month transition period

“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.”

Mr Johnson’s deal still needs to be ratified by the European Parliament ahead of Brexit day.


But barring unforeseen circumstances, Britain’s 47-year membership of the bloc will come to an end next Friday.

Furnished with a large Commons majority in the wake of his general election victory, the PM steered the bill through the lower chamber earlier this month.

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It then went to the Lords, with peers in the upper chamber passing a number of amendments to the bill.

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Among them was an amendment from Labour peer Lord Dubs, calling for the restoration of the right of unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their families in the UK post-Brexit.

These were all overturned by the Commons, prompting the Lords to end the legislative tussle and allow it to be sent for royal assent.

Brexit minister Lord Callanan said the culmination of the parliamentary process represented “the end of what seems like a very long road”.

He added: “The final stages of this bill represent something which many of us thought might never happen – parliament passing the legislation necessary to implement a Brexit deal and to finally deliver on the 2016 referendum.”

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And seeking to calm fears about the fate of unaccompanied child refugees, the peer said: “The government has been clear that we remain committed to seeking an agreement with the EU for the family reunion of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and has already written to the European Commission to commence negotiations.”

Once Britain has left the EU, both sides will enter into an 11-month transition period.

During this time, the UK will continue to follow the bloc’s rules and regulations while the terms of its future relationship are worked out.

Opponents and senior EU figures have warned that 11 months is not enough time to do this, but Mr Johnson has vowed not to ask Brussels for an extension to the transition.

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The looming ratification of his Brexit legislation will cap a whirlwind six months in office for the PM.

Mr Johnson’s predecessor in Downing Street, Theresa May, was initially tasked with negotiating Britain’s EU exit in the wake of David Cameron’s resignation.

She struck a deal with Brussels but saw it rejected three times by MPs.

Her resignation paved the way for Mr Johnson, who spearheaded the Vote Leave campaign in the referendum, to enter Number 10.


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