The House of Commons on Wednesday approved by an ample majority the EU/UK post Brexit deal, but this did not impede some lawmakers complain about being given only five hours in Parliament to scrutinize a deal that will mean profound changes for Britain’s economy and society.
The party’s powerful euro skeptic wing, which fought for years for the seemingly longshot goal of taking Britain out of the EU, has backed the deal.
The strongly pro-EU Scottish National Party and Liberal Democrats voted mostly against the bill. But the main opposition Labour Party, which had sought a closer relationship with the bloc, said it would vote for the agreement because even a thin deal was better than a chaotic no-deal rupture.
“We have only one day before the end of the transition period, and it’s the only deal that we have,” said Labour leader Keir Starmer. “It’s a basis to build on in the years to come.”
Former Prime Minister Theresa May, who resigned in 2019 after three years of Brexit acrimony in Parliament, had anticipated she would vote for Johnson’s agreement. But she said it was worse than the one she had negotiated with the bloc, which lawmakers repeatedly rejected.
She noted that the deal protected trade in goods but did not cover services, which account for 80% of Britain’s economy.
“We have a deal in trade, which benefits the EU, but not a deal in services, which would have benefitted the U.K.,” May said.