Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday formally approved the Brexit Bill (Photo Credit: Instagram)
Brexit is finally happening on January 31 as Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday formally approved the landmark law facilitating Britain's departure from the European Union. The bill is now an act of parliament i.e the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act.
There will be a consent vote in the EU parliament on January 29 on the agreement, which sets out the terms of the UK's "divorce" settlement with the EU, the rights of EU nationals resident in the UK and British expats on the continent and arrangements for Northern Ireland. Its ratification is expected to prove a formality.
The House of Commons had approved the bill on January 9 while the House of Lords, approved the legislation this week with amendments. The House of Commons overturned the changes on Wednesday and the House of Lords agreed to accept the legislation without tweaks.
Earlier, British PM Boris Johnson said the UK has "crossed the Brexit finish line" after Parliament passed legislation implementing the withdrawal deal.
The prime minister, who won an overwhelming victory at last month's general election on the back of a promise to "get Brexit done", said Parliamentary approval was a major milestone.
The UK will officially leave the bloc at 23:00 GMT on 31 January (4:30 IST on February 1) - more than three and a half years after the country voted for Brexit in a referendum in June 2016. The UK will enter into an 11-month transition period in which it will continue to follow EU rules but without representation in the bloc's institutions.