Published:  12:11 AM, 13 September 2017

Brexit bill passes 1st vote in UK parliament

Brexit bill passes 1st vote in UK parliament Political satire artist Kaya Mar holds a painting depicting the repeal bill vote outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Tuesday. -AFP

British MPs voted in favors of a bill Tuesday to end Britain's EU membership, a key moment for the government's Brexit strategy despite opposition accusations of an unprecedented power grab.  Lawmakers voted by 326 to 290 in favor of backing the legislation, after more than 13 hours of debate, which will now go forward for further scrutiny by MPs.

The bill is aimed at repealing the 1972 law through which Britain joined the bloc, transferring in bulk around 12,000 existing EU regulations onto the British statute books.  It is the next step in implementing last year's historic referendum vote to leave the EU, after Prime Minister Theresa May formally notified Brussels of Britain's withdrawal in March.

May's Conservative government won Tuesday's parliamentary vote thanks to its alliance with the Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The premier described the outcome as a historic decision which gives certainty and clarity ahead of our withdrawal from the European Union.

Although there is more to do, this decision means we can move on with negotiations with solid foundations and we continue to encourage MPs from all parts of the UK to work together in support of this vital piece of legislation, May said in a statement.

-AP, London

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