London: Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday formally approved the landmark law facilitating Britain’s departure from the European Union at the end of this month.
“Her Majesty the Queen has now granted #RoyalAssent to the #BrexitBill which therefore becomes the #BrexitAct,” Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said on Twitter.
Enshrined in law, this enables the UK to leave the EU on January 31.
This was the final hurdle left to formal ratification of the law which was passed after years of acrimonious debate over the issue by British lawmakers on Wednesday who also approved the terms of their country’s historic departure from the European Union — due in just nine days time.
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 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.