MPs tonight voted 494 to 122 in favour of approving the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, which will now proceed to the House of Lords.
Despite a Labour rebellion, which saw 52 MPs including 14 front-benchers ignore Jeremy Corbyn’s three-line whip, the bill passed by a clear 372 majority at 8.15pm this evening.
It followed an evening of disappointment and frustration for Westminster Europhiles, who saw several amendments rejected in a series of other votes.
Now the bill will progress to the House of Lords, where it is also expected to be approved, before Theresa May finally begins exit negotiations with the European Union itself.
Nigel Farage celebrated the result on Twitter, where he said: "I never thought I'd see the day where the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted for Britain to Leave the European Union."
Brexit Secretary David Davis said the overwhelming win was “historic”.
He said: “We've seen a historic vote tonight – a big majority for getting on with negotiating our exit from the EU and a strong, new partnership with its member states.
"It has been a serious debate, a healthy debate, with contributions from MPs representing all parts of the UK, and I respect the strong views on all sides.
"The decision on EU membership has been made by the people we serve. It is now time for everyone, whichever way they voted in the referendum, to unite to make a success of the important task at hand for our country."
MPs tonight voted to approve the Government's Brexit bill
Senior Tory MP Sir William Cash said: "This is a historic moment – Britain is now leaving the European Union."
Tory backbencher and tireless Leave campaigner Jacob Rees-Mogg said: "The British people spoke in a referendum, the House of Commons agreed in a bill, the unelected Lords must concur."
Leave campaigner and MP Gisela Stuart said the result was a “vital first step” towards Brexit.
She continued: “But this is the start of the process and not the end. The Bill still has to get through the Lords and it is important that it goes through unamended.
“The Government urgently needs to recognise the rights of EU nationals living and working in the UK and we must hold the Prime Minister to the commitment she made today that this issue would be at the top of her agenda.
“And we need to work for a clean Brexit which takes us out of the EU’s single market and the EU’s customs union.”
The result of tonight's vote being announced to MPs
As well as a boost to Brexiteers, tonight's vote was a huge blow to Mr Corbyn and Labour, which now face yet another period of turmoil.
While Tory MPs listened to Mrs May's warning earlier in the week that "now is not the time to oppose the will of the people", Mr Corbyn was given no such respect.
Despite asking his party to vote with the Government, 52 rebel MPs refused.
Bizarrely, Labour's three whips also voted against their own party's three-line whip.
Clive Lewis resigned from his shadow cabinet minutes before the result was announced, explaining he could not vote for something which would hurt his Norwich South constituency.
Theresa Mad had warned MPs not to oppose the will of the people prior to the vote
Rumours were circulating in Westminster this morning Mr Corbyn was considering stepping down as leader – claims rejected by his own team who claimed someone was spreading "mischief".
Regardless of the truth in these whispers, the opposition leader now faces his biggest crisis yet.
Former Labour leadership candidate Owen Smith said he was "proud" to vote against something which will make the UK "poorer".
He Tweeted after the result was announced: "Proud to have voted tonight alongside 51 Labour colleagues not to trigger Article 50. Brexit will make our country poorer."
Theresa May's Brexit plan
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Continued cooperation with the EU to tackle terrorism and international crime.
The SNP made a desperate last-ditch attempt to delay proceedings with a point-of-order from MP and former party leader Alex Salmond.
He said the bill was being "rail-roaded through" in a "disgraceful fashion" not seen since WW1.
Mr Salmond said: "To happen on any bill would be a disgrace, to happen on this bill is an outrage."
His attempt to delay the vote was overruled by the Deputy Speaker.
Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas lashed out at Labour following tonight’s result.
She said: “The Labour party has colluded with the Tories today. Despite not a single Labour amendment being accepted their leadership trooped through the lobbies with the Government, holding their hand as they lurch towards an extreme Brexit.
“I congratulate those Labour MPs like Clive Lewis who stood up for what’s right tonight – I know that their decision to defy the whip won’t have been taken lightly.”