The EU (notification of withdrawal) bill in its original, unamended form was passed by the House of Commons on 8 February with 494 votes to 122. Subject to House of Lords approval, the bill gives the Prime Minister the required authority to invoke Article 50 and begin the UK’s 2 year formal withdrawal from the European Union.
MP’s also voted on eight clauses and amendments in parliament on the evening of 8 February which were all rejected: these included a motion tabled by the Liberal Democrats calling for a second EU referendum before Britain leaves the EU; and a motion tabled by Labour asking for the government to guarantee the rights of EU nationals before Article 50 is triggered.
The convincing victory for the Prime Minister was largely down to the fact that she was able to prevent any rebellion within her own party by promising MPs a vote on the final draft of any EU exit agreement. While this was seen by many opposition MPs as a significant concession, the Prime Minister affirmed that if parliament refused the terms of the deal, Britain would be forced to leave the EU with no deal at all.