Great Britain

Tory MPs ask Boris Johnson for autograph after Brexit deal passed

Conservative MPs were spotted asking Boris Johnson to sign copies of their order papers after the prime minister’s Brexit deal cleared its first hurdle in the House of Commons.

The withdrawal agreement bill, which has been stripped of powers for MPs to avert the risk of a no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020, was passed with a majority of 124, putting the UK on course to leave the EU on 31 January.

It will now be scrutinised at its committee stage early in the New Year, but is not expected to be amended significantly before passing into law next month.

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In the wake of the bill’s first successful reading, a group of Conservative MPs surrounded Mr Johnson in the centre of the House to ask for his signature.

Reports suggested afterwards that Charles Walker and Craig Mackinlay, both ardent Brexit supporters, were among those to get a copy of the prime minister’s autograph.

Selaine Saxby, the MP for North Devon, was another who got the Tory leader to sign her copy of the withdrawal bill.

She later tweeted an image of the document, adding: “Very proud to have been a part of getting this done!”

The result was not in doubt, after Mr Johnson won an 80-strong majority at last week’s election, but the size of the victory hinted at sizeable Labour abstentions or absenteeism.

Earlier, Mr Johnson urged MPs voters to ditch the labels ‘Leave’ and “Remain’, with the fight to keep the UK in the EU buried by his election landslide.

“We come together as a new parliament to break the deadlock and finally to get Brexit done,” he told MPs.

The decision to leave the EU “must not be seen as a victory for one party over another, or one faction or another,” he argued, adding: “This is the time when we move on and discard the old labels of leave and remain.”