By a vote of 330-231 on Thursday, the UK House of Commons approved the latest iteration of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s legislation regarding leaving the EU. The vote paves the way for the bill to pass to the House of Lords. Upon approval there, the UK’s departure will be set to be final by the January 31 deadline agreed upon in October of last year.
The bill approved Thursday contains some tweaks from the version that was defeated last October, and the House of Commons gave it initial approval on December 20, setting up Thursday’s vote. Johnson’s Brexit detail closely resembles the one put forth by former Prime Minister Theresa May, its main difference being a modification from the Northern Irish “backstop” to a customs barrier between Northern Ireland and the mainland UK. The defeat of that earlier deal precipitated May’s resignation, but the politics have changed following December’s general election.
Even with a smooth exit by the end of this month, Brexit uncertainty remains far from over. The rest of the year will be marked by negotiations over trade between the UK and the EU, which have the potential to be contentious.