Theresa May remains on course to trigger Brexit next month after MPs overwhelmingly backed legislation that will fire the starting gun on formal withdrawal negotiations.
The Article 50 bill cleared the Commons easily last night and will now be debated in the House of Lords.
Brexit Secretary David Davis hailed the “historic” vote and insisted it was time to “make a success of the important task” ahead.
But Scottish Brexit Minister Mike Russell warned the UK Government’s hand would be “weakened” if it now felt empowered to “ignore” the “essential interests” of the devolved administrations.
And Gordon MP Alex Salmond accused the Conservative administration of “railroading” the legislation through.
As the vote unfolded, SNP members were reprimanded for singing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the melody of the European anthem, conducted by North Ayrshire and Arran MP Patricia Gibson.
During three long days of debate, the UK Government fought off a backbench rebellion by promising MPs a vote on the final deal before it goes before the European Parliament.
The Labour leadership hailed this as a “significant victory” after “months of concerted pressure”.
But many opposition backbenchers – and some Tories – questioned the meaningfulness and therefore worth of a vote on a take-it-or-leave-it-deal.
When asked to clarify, Brexit Minister David Jones indicated there would not be a parliamentary vote in a ‘no deal’ scenario.
He also appeared to rule out a return to the negotiating table if the UK Parliament rejected the settlement on offer.
Mrs May has repeatedly made clear her willingness to walk away if necessary.
In the event of no deal, Mr Jones confirmed, the UK would still leave the bloc and fall back on World Trade Organisation arrangements, widely considered to be the most undesirable outcome.
An amendment calling on the prime minister to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK before triggering Article 50 was also defeated.
MPs backed the unamended European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill by 494 votes to 122.
Just a single Tory – former chancellor Ken Clarke – voted against his government.
The well-known Europhile has likened Mrs May to Alice in Wonderland following the rabbit down the hole.
Some 52 Labour MPs also revolted, flouting Jeremy Corbyn’s order to back the bill at its third reading.
They included Clive Lewis, who resigned from the shadow cabinet to vote against it, and former shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray.
Liberal Democrat Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael was also among the Noes, making David Mundell the only Scottish MP to support the legislation.
The vote – which moves the UK a step closer to the EU exit door – came a day after Holyrood emphatically rejected the UK Government’s plan to start the Brexit process in a symbolic stand.
Speaking after last night’s vote, Mr Russell said: “If the UK Government wants an agreement on triggering Article 50, which it said it did, then it has to come to the table and get one.
“This vote gets us no nearer that table.
“It may embolden Theresa May, but it will certainly weaken the hand of the UK Government in its negotiating if it thinks this empowers it to ignore the requirements, the needs, the essential interests of the devolved administrations.”
Mr Davis said: “We’ve seen a historic vote – a big majority for getting on with negotiating our exit from the EU and a strong, new partnership with its member states.
“The decision on EU membership has been made by the people we serve. It is now time for everyone, whichever way they voted in the referendum, to unite to make a success of the important task at hand for our country.”