In an historic night at Westminster, the Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill cleared its first Parliamentary hurdle with the backing of 498 MPs.
Former Tory Cabinet minister Owen Paterson said: “This is irrevocable – we have voted to take back control.
Nicky Morgan lashed out against the Article 50 debate
"We are going to celebrate that the House of Commons has voted to take back control.”
All but one Tory MP fell in line with Mrs May’s demand to respect the result of last year’s referendum as Ken Clarke stubbornly refused to support the rest of his party.
The Remain campaigner said: “I was quite clear from about autumn and onwards that we needed a short, sharp build to trigger Article 50.
Theresa May's 12 point Brexit plan
Mon, January 16, 2017
It's finally here!
1 of 7
Continued cooperation with the EU to tackle terrorism and international crime.
We’d really rather not have been in the situation of having to pass this legislation
“That Parliament, to avoid a crisis in our democracy, needed to respect the democratic results from June 23.
“But of course, as many of us said, we’d really rather not have been in the situation of having this debate and having to pass this legislation.”
While the pro-Brussels MP reluctantly yielded to the will of the people, former Labour frontbencher Rachael Maskell told BBC host Evan Davis she resigned from the shadow cabinet because she did not want to vote for a “hard Brexit”.
Defending the decision to try and frustrate the process of taking the UK out of the bloc, the former Shadow Secretary of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said she ignored Jeremy Corbyn’s three line whip because a “Theresa May Brexit” was not “presented on the EU Referendum ballot”.
MPs overwhelmingly voted to give Theresa May the power to trigger Article 50
Davis told Ms Maskell: “You’re talking a brave talk here Rachael, but the truth is your party has been all over the shop, basically, hasn’t it?
“It does come down to the fact that some of them believe you have to stick with the result of what the voters said, and some like you have said I want to go my own way or the way of York Central or whatever.”
To which the former Labour Party MP retorted: “A people’s Brexit will be incredibly different from what she [Theresa May] has set out, because she hasn’t followed the will of the people.
“She has set out her own terms, and we saw just over the weekend, how easy it is that she could give away that power to other countries.
REMOANERS: These people hate BREXIT!
Mon, January 16, 2017
Remainers are finding it hard to accept Brexit.
1 of 14
“If you’re signing a trade deal, where is the Parliamentary democracy in those processes?”
The majority vote of support for the PM to start the process of abandoning Brussels came after a two-day debate on the 137-word EU Bill, which saw Tory veteran Sir Bill Cash warn MPs that it “would be committing political suicide” if they tried to stop Brexit.
Challenging MPs on whether or not they “trust the people”, Brexit Secretary David Davis urged Parliament to respect the result of last year’s referendum.
Theresa May is expected to reveal her Brexit ‘White Paper’ on Thursday
Mr Davis said: “It is not a Bill about whether or not the UK should leave the EU, or indeed how it should do so. It is simply about Parliament empowering the Government to implement a decision already made, a point of no return already passed.
“We asked the people of the UK if they wanted to leave the EU; they decided they did. So at the core of this Bill lies a very simple question: do we trust the people or not?"
Mrs May is expected to reveal her “White Paper”, setting out details of her blueprint for the forthcoming Brexit negotiations, on Thursday.
The document will flesh out the 12 objectives set out in the Prime Minister’s Brexit speech last month.