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Summary

  1. MPs back Brexit bill by 498 votes to 114
  2. Bill gives go-ahead for Article 50
  3. White Paper on Brexit published
  4. It sets out UK's Brexit talks strategy

Live Reporting

By Jackie Storer, Alex Hunt and BBC Parliament Staff

All times stated are UK

Recap: Thursday's headlines

Here's a round-up of what's been making the news in politics today:

Listen to business concerns during Brexit negotiations - CBI

CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn urged the government to continue listening to businesses in the UK and Europe "to make a success of Brexit".

She argued that falling back on World Trade Organisation rules "would be damaging, so the pressure is on to deliver the best possible deal, as well as a smooth and orderly exit".

The UK faces skills and labour shortages so businesses will welcome the opportunity to help design a post-Brexit migration system which works for all sectors. It is critical that business has access to the graduate and non-graduate workers our economy needs to thrive.”

Union blasts government over Brexit impact on jobs and wages

The GMB union has described the government's white paper outlining its Brexit strategy as bordering on "a fairy tale".

General secretary Tim Roache says it contains no assessment of the impact on jobs and wages of leaving the single market and customs union.

“Either they have no idea what they are doing and are playing fast and loose with people's livelihoods - or the truth is too awful to share with the public," he said.

He claims it is "astounding" that there "is not a single reference to the NHS" despite the Leave campaign's promise that leaving the EU would result in an extra £350 million a week for the health service.

Mr Roache also called for the government to protect workers' rights by putting guarantees into legislation.

“We cannot allow Brexit to mean a bargain basement for workers' rights," he says.

Listen: John McDonnell is asked if Diane Abbott had 'Brexit flu'?

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

What does the White Paper say about trade?

Cars
Getty Images

The UK will withdraw from the single market and seek a new customs arrangement and an "ambitious and a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement".

It adds: "That agreement may take in elements of current single market arrangements in certain areas as it makes no sense to start again from scratch when the UK and the remaining member states have adhered to the same rules for so many years. Such an arrangement would be on a fully reciprocal basis and in our mutual interests."

The government also wants to strike trade deals with other countries around the world. The document says the government is looking at ways to "achieve continuity" in its trade relationships with countries that have free trade agreements with the EU.

'Devil in detail' on White Paper - Friends of The Earth

Friends of the Earth is happy that the Brexit White Paper includes a commitment to bring EU environmental protections into UK law but says the "devil will be in the detail".

Campaigner Samuel Lowener, said it was "sensible" that the government had left open the possibility of remaining part of some EU regulatory bodies.

"Continuing to maintain a level regulatory playing field on issues such as chemical safety with our European neighbours is not only good for people and the environment, it makes sense for business too," he said.

Lack of guarantee for EU nationals 'astounding' - Greens

Back to the Brexit White Paper, Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party argues that it "does nothing to allay fears of the Tories leading us towards an extreme Brexit."

She added it was "particularly astounding that there’s still no guarantee for EU nationals living here - the government’s intransigence on this is unforgivable".

Ms Lucas, the sole Green MP at Westminster, says she intends to do "all I can to protect our hard won environment and social protections” over the coming weeks.

Karen Danczuk 'would like to be MP'

BBC Radio 5 live

Karen Danczuk has told Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 5 live that she would like to return to politics and become an MP, because she believes "my voice is important". 

Ms Danczuk, who has been a councillor in the past and is estranged from her husband the MP for Rochdale, Simon Danczuk, said: "I want to get back into politics, and I've been thinking this past week, actually I would love to be an MP, I genuinely would, and I just hope I can get the support out there to enable that." 

Read more

14 weeks of annual leave?

Chart
bbc

Chart 7.1 of the government's Brexit White Paper has raised a few eyebrows. It comes in a section comparing employment practices in the UK with the rest of the EU, and appears to suggest British workers are entitled to 14 weeks of annual leave. Sounds good to us...

Special deals for car firms in White Paper?

BBC News Channel

It appears the government is looking at special deals for key sectors - financial services, car manufacturers and chemical exports - to ensure they retain the benefits of the single market, says the BBC's Norman Smith.

He also says Diane Abbott is under pressure after failing to turn up to vote - because she was sick. Her fellow Labour MP John Mann accused her of cowardice and said she should apologise.

Meanwhile Chris Leslie, a Labour MP who voted against triggering Article 50, tells the BBC he has not spoken to Ms Abbott about it but adds: "Diane, if you're watching, get well soon."

Lib Dem peers will push for second referendum

Lord Newby, leader of the LIb Dems in the Lords, tells the BBC the Brexit bill will go through by the end of March but he says it is "logical" that "the people" should have the final say on the deal.

The House of Lords will want to scrutinise the bill and may send it back to the Commons and ask MPs, who voted to support the bill on Wednesday, to "think again", he says

He expects amendments on membership of single market and rights of EU citizens to be discussed and voted on by peers.

Lord Newby, who leads 102 peers in the Lords, says there should be no Brexit without another referendum.

'Neck and neck' in Stoke on Trent?

In Stoke on Trent, where Tristram Hunt's Stoke Central seat is up for grabs after the Labour MP quit to become director of London's V&A Museum, new UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has his eye on a Westminster seat.

Mick Temple, Professor of journalism and politics at the University of Staffordshire says Brexit is the number one issue on the doorstep - he's hearing from Labour activists - and the party is not out of reach for UKIP.

"It's quite conceivable and I know that Labour are worried. At the moment they are calling it neck and neck," he says.

He thinks turnout will be low - below 49% - and says it's key for Labour that they get their vote out.

 For the full list of by-election candidates, click here

Mann: Anti-Semitism report 'very worrying'

John Mann
BBC

Labour's John Mann, who is chairman of the all party parliamentary group on combating anti-Semitism, told the BBC that a report suggesting hate crime against Jewish people was now at record levels was "very worrying".

He said that increased talk of anti-Semitism in the wake of a row within the Labour Party may have led to more people reporting incidents but "it's also led to more people crawling out from underneath the stone ... and feeling emboldened to abuse people with racist hate speech".

He said the fact that the trend was "significantly" upwards meant there must be effective action to diminish anti-Semitism to protect Jewish people.

 "Anti-Semitism is creeping up, it's on the rise, it's become, for far too many people, the acceptable face of racism, the thing they can get away with."

Society needs to reject it, he said and "nip this in the bud".

Watch: Trump unapologetic on 'tough phone calls'

President Trump brushes off reports of his "tough phone calls" with Mexican and Australian leaders.

Diane Abbott's vote absence 'was cowardice'

BBC News Channel

Labour MP John Mann says Diane Abbott's absence from the Commons yesterday was "quite extraordinary"

"She gave herself a sick note at 5pm.... she bottled the vote, it's cowardice," he told the BBC. 

Mr Mann says Ms Abbott, the shadow home secretary, should apologise for missing the vote, saying other MPs who were sick made it in to vote.

"Hiding away from big votes is not the way we should be doing things," he says.

Ms Abbott, one of Mr Corbyn's closest allies, did not vote on Wednesday after complaining of a migraine. 

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has denied it was a case of "Brexit flu" because she could not bring herself to support the Bill.

"She wasn't very well. There wasn't going to be a close vote. If there was a close vote we'd be bringing even sick people back," he has said.

Watch: Brexit aim that 'no part of UK loses'

The Brexit Secretary tells MPs that the UK government is "taking the interests of Wales extremely seriously" as it prepares for the UK to leave the European Union.

Watch: SNP MP's Trainspotting-inspired speech

SNP MP Hannah Bardell delivered a Trainspotting-inspired speech against Brexit during Wednesday's debate

UK to leave Prum crime database scheme?

Among other news from David Davis's White Paper statement is his suggestion that the UK will withdraw from an EU-wide DNA and fingerprint sharing database as part of Brexit,

He told Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan "new arrangements" would be sought instead as Brexit meant "almost by definition" that it would leave the scheme, known as 'Prum'.

The Prum Convention allows EU countries to search each other's databases for DNA profiles, vehicle registration data and fingerprints to identify foreign criminals and solve crimes. Britain rejoined the agreement in 2016, having previously opted out.

Ms Trevelyan had told Mr Davis she wanted the UK to leave Prum so the European Court of Justice could not access her constituents' personal data. 

Mr Davis said: "We will be making new arrangements with very, very clear in our mind keeping terrorism, crime and so on under control."

Listen: Neil Carmichael on possible rebellion

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

Neil Carmichael, who is chair of the Commons education select committee, was speaking on BBC Radio 4's World at One programme

In case you missed it: BBC Political Editor's blog after Wednesday's vote

Laura Kuenssberg

BBC political editor

It's begun.

After decades of debate, years of acrimony over the issue in the Conservative Party, months of brutal brinksmanship in Westminster, and hours of debate this week, MPs have approved the very first step in the process of Britain leaving the European Union.

There are many hurdles ahead, probably thousands of hours of debate here, years of negotiations for Theresa May with our friends and rivals around the EU, as she seeks a deal - and possibly as long as a decade of administrative adjustments, as the country extricates itself from the EU.

On a wet Wednesday, the debate didn't feel epoch-making, but think for a moment about what has just happened.

MPs, most of whom wanted to stay in the EU, have just agreed that we are off.

Read Laura's blog in full