The Divorce Bill was approved by the House of Representatives this morning, with 52 voting in favour, 11 against and five abstaining. All Labour MPs voted in favour except Adrian Vassallo, a strong opponent of divorce, who was not present.

The vote was greeted with applause.

All that remains is for the President's signature for the Bill to become law.

The MPs who voted against the Bill were Frederick Azzopardi, Jason Azzopardi, Tonio Borg, Giovanna Debono, Louis Deguara, Beppe Fenech Adami, Austin Gatt, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, Philip Mifsud, Carm Mifsud Bonncici and Edwin Vassallo.

The abstentions were by Francis Agius, Tonio Fenech, Mario Galea, Peter Micallef and Clyde Puli. 

The vote brought to an end a year-long process which was kicked off when Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando on July 6 last year surprised everybody by presenting a private member's motion for the introduction of divorce.

The introduction of divorce was approved in a referendum in May, with the House proceeding with its debate a short time afterwards.

The Bill was approved through the committee stage earlier today.  During a vote on one of the clauses, 58 members voted in favour, eight voted against and two did not vote. They included Adrian Vassallo, who was not present.

The vote was requested by Labour MP Joe Mizzi, who said that the relevant clause was linked to the referendum question and a clear vote was needed.

At the start of the sitting, the mover of the Bill, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando as well as other MPs from both sides of the House thanked the parliamentary staff, the Office of the Attorney General and also the leaders of both parliamentary groups in the committee for the agreement they had achieved in the proceedings. 

The bill breezed through the second reading vote on July 13 with 44 votes in favour, a dozen abstentions and 13 votes against, which included the Prime Minister.

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