Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle was forced to prevent a sing off in the House of Commons on Wednesday, after whistling MPs broke into the official EU anthem “Ode to Joy”.
As MPs passed through the division lobbies for what many saw as a momentous vote, anti-Brexit Scottish National Party MPs whistled and sang Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” in an attempt to disrupt proceedings.
Another MP was heard to shout “shame” while some Tory MPs applauded the result of the vote, which the Government had tried to avoid before the Supreme Court ruled that Parliament must have a say.
The unruly MPs were soon told off by Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, who told them: “While I don’t mind singing, it’s been a tense night and I don’t want a sing off in the chamber”.
In a twist of irony, the whistling SNP MPs choice of song also called to mind Brexiteer Boris Johnson’s rendition of the same song in German last May.
Watch | Boris sings Ode to Joy in German
The incident came as MPs passed the Brexit Bill 494 votes to 122, giving PM Theresa May their overwhelming backing to formally begin Brexit in a historic House of Commons vote.
The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal Bill) was approved after around 40 hours of debate during which the Government saw off a series of attempts to change it to safeguard against a “hard Brexit”.
The legislation will allow the Prime Minister to begin exit negotiations under Article 50 of the EU treaties, which she has promised by April, once it passes through the House of Lords.
Watch | How a Bill is made into UK law
Following the vote, Brexit Secretary David Davis said: “We’ve seen a historic vote tonight – a big majority for getting on with negotiating our exit from the EU and a strong, new partnership with its member states.
“It has been a serious debate, a healthy debate, with contributions from MPs representing all parts of the UK, and I respect the strong views on all sides.”
The legislation passed through the Commons without being amended after the Government saw off the threat of a significant Tory rebellion over the rights of EU citizens already in the UK.
Watch | Government wins backing to trigger Article 50 by 494 to 122
A total of 52 Labour MPs, including 11 frontbenchers and three whips, rebelled against Mr Corbyn’s orders and voted against triggering Article 50.
Former chancellor Ken Clarke was again the only Conservative to vote against the Bill.
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, a leading Brexit supporter, said: “I never thought I’d see the day where the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted for Britain to leave the European Union.”
Mrs May’s immediate attention will now turn to a meeting on Thursday at Downing Street with Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni in which the pair are sure to discuss Brexit.