A bill enacting Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has become law after months of debate, the speaker of parliament announced on Tuesday to cheers from Conservative lawmakers.
The EU (Withdrawal) Bill repeals the 1972 European Communities Act through which Britain became a member, and transfers decades of European law onto British statute books in a bid to avoid any legal disruption.
The bill has undergone more than 250 hours of acrimonious debate in the Houses of Parliament since it was introduced in July 2017.
Euroskeptics celebrated the passing of the bill through parliament last week as proof that, despite all the continuing uncertainty over the negotiations with Brussels, Britain was leaving the EU.
International Trade Minister Liam Fox said it paved the way “irrevocably” for Brexit, adding that the chances of Britain not leaving “are now zero”.
Leading euroskeptic MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, a member of the ruling Conservative party, said at the weekend: “The legal position is now so much stronger for a clean Brexit.
In an open letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May, 60 lawmakers, economists and business chiefs have accused the EU of being “intransigent” in divorce talks and said Britain should threaten to withhold the 39 billion pound ($52 billion) divorce bill it has already agreed to pay.
The letter released Sunday by Economists for Free Trade was signed by prominent supporters of a “hard Brexit,” including ex-UK Treasury chief Nigel Lawson, Conservative lawmakers John Redwood and Peter Bone, and Tim Martin, chairman of the Wetherspoons pub chain.