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Brexit deal officially becomes UK law after Royal Assent

LONDON: The bill implementing Britain's exit deal with the European Union officially became law yesterday ahead of the country's departure from the bloc.

The legislation passed its final parliamentary stage on Wednesday, after more than three years of bitter wrangling over how, when and even if Brexit should take place.

Queen Elizabeth has now given it Royal Assent, the leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said on Twitter. Britain is due to leave the bloc on Jan. 31. A consent vote in the EU Parliament will take place on Jan 29. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to formally sign the Withdrawal Agreement in the coming days.

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 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.

Said Mr Johnson: "At times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we've done it. Now we can put the rancour and division of the past three years behind us and focus on delivering a bright, exciting future."

The European Parliament still has to back the deal in a vote next week, but its approval in London is historic as Britain edges closer to becoming the first country to leave the EU. - AFP, REUTERS

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