Great Britain is one step closer to leaving the European Union once and for all after Members of Parliament (MPs) voted overwhelmingly in favor of the European Union Bill, a piece of legislation that would empower Prime Minister Theresa May to begin negotiating Brexit.
In all, 498 MPs supported the bill while 114 opposed it, a result that saw 47 members of the opposition Labour party break ranks to back it. Now, both the Commons and the House of Lords will subject the legislation to further scrutiny before it can become ratified.
Prime Minister May has called on MPs to pass the bill before a March 31 deadline, which is when she wants to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to officially get Brexit talks with the EU underway.
Last June, voters opted for Brexit in a shock 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent result that was seen as a long shot. Some pundits speculated that the United Kingdom would not actually end up leaving the European Union due to legislative hurdles, but the strong support behind the European Union Bill suggests that Brexit is inevitable.
Next week, the bill will reach its committee stage in the Commons, which is when any proposed amendments can be added.
While the government had argued that Prime Minister May was granted enough power by her office to trigger Brexit alone, the UK Supreme Court decided that MPs and peers must be allowed to weigh in before Article 50 could be triggered.
Brexit negotiations are expected to take at least two years, which means that the UK is expected to formally leave the EU in 2019 at the earliest.