After years of acrimonious debate, British lawmakers on Wednesday finally approved the terms of their country’s historic departure from the European Union. MPs in the lower House of Commons had already backed the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which ratifies the divorce deal that Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck with Brussels last year. But the unelected upper House of Lords made some changes this week, including on the rights of EU citizens and child refugees after Brexit.
In a series of votes on Wednesday, the Commons — where Johnson’s Conservatives have a large majority — rejected all five amendments and sent the bill back to the Lords, who then reluctantly agreed to back down. The Bill is now awaiting royal assent by Queen Elizabeth II for its formal ratification, paving the way for Britain to leave the EU on January 31. The European Parliament still has to back the deal in a vote next week but its approval in London is a historic moment, as Britain edges closer to becoming the first country to leave the 28-member EU.