British PM Theresa May. Pic/AP
London: Britain moved closer to leaving the European Union as lawmakers backed a bill authorising divorce proceedings and kept alive the government's plan to trigger Brexit talks within weeks.
The House of Commons decisively backed the bill by 498 votes to 114, sending it on for committee scrutiny. The result was a victory for the Conservative government, which had fought in court to avert the vote out of fear Parliament would impede its Brexit plans.
Lawmakers also defeated a "wrecking amendment" proposed by the Scottish National Party, seeking to delay exit talks with the EU because the British government has not disclosed detailed plans for its negotiations.