Wed Feb 8, 2017 8:30PM
 A general view of the House of Commons on February 8, 2017 (Photo by AFP)
A general view of the House of Commons on February 8, 2017 (Photo by AFP)

British MPs pass a bill that allows Prime Minister Theresa May to start negotiations on Brexit.

Lawmakers in the House of Commons voted 494 by 122 Wednesday for a law that enables May to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to start formal negotiations on leaving the European Union.

The article would initiate two years of talks between London and the 28-nation bloc.

May (pictured below) attempted to get the article 50 bill through the House of Commons without any change, hoping for initiation of negotiations before the end of March, while MPs made efforts to have more say in the process but to no avail.

"This, elementally, is a straightforward bill which serves only to give the prime minister the power to trigger Article 50 and thereby respect the result of the referendum," said Brexit Secretary David Jones.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, the shadow business secretary, Clive Lewis, resigned from his post, arguing that he will not “vote for something I believe will ultimately harm the city I have the honor to represent, love and call home.”

“I will continue to support our party and our leader from the back benches to the very best of my ability,” he said.

Last year, nearly 52 percent of Britons voted to end their country's decades-long membership in the 28-nation bloc.

Ahead of the June referendum, two third of the MPs had campaigned for staying in the EU.

The bill should now move to the House of Lords, where the prime minister’s Conservative party does not enjoy a majority.