UK PM Johnson wins first vote on Brexit legislation

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at the House of Commons as parliament debates on Withdrawal Agreement bill, in London, Britain, October 22, 2019, in this screen grab taken from video. Parliament TV via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson won approval for his Brexit legislation in a second reading on Tuesday, the first step towards forcing his deal through parliament so that Britain leaves the European Union on Oct. 31.

Lawmakers voted 329 versus 299 in favor of the Brexit legislation, paving the way for a vote on the so-called program motion, which sets out an accelerated timetable for the parliament to approve the Withdrawal Agreement Bill by the end of Thursday.

It is not clear whether the prime minister can win a vote on the program motion.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, Elizabeth Piper and William James