Brexit news latest – Britain just HOURS from 'new beginning' with transition period ending & EU deal signed into law

PRIME Minister Boris Johnson hailed a "new beginning" as he signed his Brexit deal – after MPs voted to make it law this afternoon.

The House of Commons passed the agreement 521 to 73 as history was made in the House of Commons.

Four years, six months and seven days after the nation opted for Brexit, MPs rubber stamped his agreement – which will come into force tomorrow night.

The second and third readings passed overwhelmingly – and now it goes to the House of Lords and finally to be rubber stamped by the Queen later.

Follow all the latest news, reaction and action from the Houses of Parliament on our live blog below…

  • Jon Rogers

    UK AND SPAIN RACE TO SECURE GIBRALTAR DEAL

    Negotiators from Spain and the United Kingdom are in a race against the clock to clinch a deal on the post-Brexit future of Gibraltar.

    In the UK's 2016 Brexit referendum, 96 per cent of voters in Gibraltar supported remaining in the EU. But they face the possibility of entering the New Year with tight new controls on what for decades has been an open border with the bloc.

    Officials from Madrid and London have until midnight (11pm in the UK), when the Brexit separation comes into force, to find an agreement.

    Gibraltar wasn't part of the Brexit trade deal between the EU and the UK, which was announced on Christmas Eve.

    Neither side has commented publicly on the talks this week.

  • Jon Rogers

    JOHNSON'S DAD APPLIES FOR FRENCH PASSPORT

    Boris Johnson's dad has said he was in the process of applying for a French passport to maintain his ties with the European Union after Brexit.

    Stanley Johnson, a former member of the European Parliament who voted Remain in Britain's 2016 referendum, told RTL radio he wanted to become a French citizen because of strong family links to France.

    "If I understand it correctly, I am French. My mother was born in France, her mother was totally French as was her grandfather. So for me it is about reclaiming what I already have. And that makes me very happy," said the 80-year-old Johnson, who was speaking in French.

    "I will always be a European, that's for sure. One cannot tell the British people: you are not Europeans. Having a tie with the European Union is important," he added.

     

  • Jon Rogers

    BREXIT WILL MEAN NEW TRANSFER RULES FOR FA

    Brexit will mean clubs are no longer able to sign European players under EU rules related to free movement of labour.

    Instead, these players will now require a governing body endorsement (GBE) in order to be eligible, just as non-EU players required in the past.

    Via a points-based system agreed by the Football Association, the EFL and the Premier League and approved by the Home Office, which will be reviewed at the end of the January window.

    A score of 15 points against the criteria will be enough to secure a GBE, while a score between 10 and 14 points is referred to an exceptions panel who will then rule on the suitability and quality of the player concerned.

  • Jon Rogers

    EUROPEAN STOCKS DOWN

    The pan-European STOXX 600 index recorded a 3.8 per cent drop in 2020 – lagging its Asian and Wall Street peers that traded near record highs – as a rapid surge in coronavirus cases and concerns about a chaotic Brexit weighed on the continent's markets.

    Still, the index remains only 7 per cent below its record high after rallying about 50 per cent from March lows, while hopes of more stimulus, the rollout of coronavirus vaccines and a Brexit trade deal sealed last week raised bets of a stronger recovery in 2021.

  • Jon Rogers

    BREXIT DEAL ENTERS INTO LAW

    Boris Johnson has said the UK's destiny "now resides firmly in our hands" as his European Union trade deal cleared Parliament and entered into law.

    The EU (Future Relationship) Act received the backing of the Commons and Lords as the Government rushed approval through both Houses in a single day.

    It was announced that the legislation had been granted royal assent at 12.25am on Thursday morning, signing the agreement finally reached between the UK and EU on Christmas Eve into law.

    The Act paves the way for the deal to take effect at 11pm on Thursday when the current Brexit transition period – during which the UK has continued to follow EU rules – ends.

  • Jon Rogers

    EU-UK NEGOTIATIONS COULD GO ON FOR DECADES

    The UK is likely to be in non-stop negotiations with the EU for decade after decade, said Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform think-tank.

    Customs controls, red tape and the residue of bile caused by years of acrimonious divorce talks may provide a sting in the tail.

    And despite the Brexit process, loose ends will surface for months, even years, to come, according to the think-tank.

  • Jon Rogers

    CBOE READY FOR BREXIT TRANSITION

    Cboe Europe, a pan-European stock exchange operator and a division of Cboe Global Markets, has said it is prepared for the Brexit transition.

    Provisional EU and UK post-Brexit trade deal does not cover the whole of the financial services sector, meaning new restrictions on share trading will come into force from January 4, 2021.

    Cboe says it is prepared for this scenario with venues operational in the UK and the Netherlands, allowing it to continue serving customers across the UK and EU.

  • Jon Rogers

    BRITAIN PUNISHED ITSELF – FRENCH MINISTER

     Brexit negotiations were not the result of any European Union desire to punish Britain for leaving the bloc, French European Affairs minister Clement Beaune said on Thursday.

    "With Brexit, Britain is punishing itself," Beaune told France's LCI television. "We weren't trying to punish it."

    "Britain realised that having no access to the European market would be an economic disaster," he added.

    "This is why, in the deal that was reached, there is access to the European market, but while respecting our conditions and rules."

  • Jon Rogers

    FTSE FALLS

    The blue-chip FTSE 100 lost 1.6 per cent, on course to end the year down more than 14 per cent and underperforming its European peers by a wide margin on concerns about Brexit and a surge in coronavirus cases.

    The mid-cap FTSE 250 index, considered a barometer of Brexit sentiment, was down 0.6%, falling for a second consecutive session.

  • Jon Rogers

    EU DEFENDED ITS INTERESTS SAYS FRENCH MINISTER

    The European Union didn't punish the United Kingdom with the Brexit trade deal and managed to defend its interests, French European Affairs junior minister Clement Beaune said on Thursday.

    Beaune told France's LCI television that Britain had punished itself by voting to leave the bloc.

    The UK officially leaves the European Union's orbit on Thursday night, after a tempestuous 48-year liaison with the European project.

  • Patrick Joseph DUGGAN

    BREXIT HISTORY

    BREXITEER MPs have backed Boris Johnson's historic trade deal with the EU.

    The European Research Group (ERG) of backbench politicians have said the pact will protect British sovereignty and have vowed to vote for it in the Commons tomorrow.

    The group's "star chamber" of Brexiteer lawyers have advised them that the "FTA is consistent with restoration of UK sovereignty".

  • Patrick Joseph DUGGAN

    BORIS'S BREXIT BONANZA

    BORIS Johnson last night declared his Brexit deal allows the UK to have its cake and eat it — after MPs overwhelmingly backed it in a historic Commons vote.

    They ended years of wrangling over Europe by voting 521 to 73 in favour of the PM’s last-ditch Brexit deal.

    Four years, six months and seven days after Britain voted to leave the EU, Mr Johnson said the UK would finally take control of its “national destiny”.

    Tory MPs hailed it as the end of the “battle for Brexit” and praised Mr Johnson for “saving our democracy”.

  • Patrick Joseph DUGGAN

    MAY DAY

    THERESA May claimed her own Brexit deal was "better" than Boris Johnson's in an extraordinary Commons clash today.

    The former PM said she was voting for his deal "in the national interest" – a dig at Tory colleagues who had repeatedly rebelled against her Brexit plans.

    But she said the Government needed to enter fresh talks with the EU to resolve issues facing the UK's financial services sector, which were left out of the PM's Brexit deal.

    Read the full story here.

  • Elizabeth Little

    PM HAILS 'NEW BEGINNING'

    Boris Johnson hailed a "new beginning" on Wednesday as he signed his Brexit deal – after MPs and Lords voted to make it law.

    The House of Commons passed the agreement 521 to 73, while peers gave the bill an unopposed third reading.

    Four years, six months and seven days after the nation opted for Brexit, MPs rubber stamped his agreement – which will come into force tomorrow night.

    The second and third readings passed overwhelmingly.

    Read more on the historic moment here.

  • Elizabeth Little

    BREXIT TRADE DEAL GRANTED ROYAL ASSENT BY THE QUEEN

    Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has told MPs the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020, which enables the Government to implement and ratify the UK’s trade deal with the EU, has been granted royal assent by the Queen.

  • Elizabeth Little

    PM PICTURED SIGNING BREXIT TRADE BILL

    Boris Johnson was today pictured formally signing the EU-UK trade agreement in Downing Street.

    The House of Commons backed the agreement, struck between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the EU on Christmas Eve, by 521 votes to 73 – a majority of 448.

  • Elizabeth Little

    WHAT DOES A BREXIT DEAL MEAN FOR HOUSE PRICES IN THE UK?

    Experts have been divided for some time now on what Brexit will mean for house prices.

    Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the looming threat of Brexit, the UK property market largely remained buoyant – possibly helped by a stamp duty break. 

    The latest Halifax tracker showed typical house prices rose from £237,834 to £253,243 between June and November – the strongest run of growth since 2004.

    Meanwhile, Nationwide Building Society reported an annual rise in house prices of 6.5% for November, the highest since January 2015.

    But experts have warned that Brexit could put a damper on house price growth, with some suggesting that we could even see prices fall.

    Read more here.

  • Elizabeth Little

    WILL MOBILE ROAMING CHARGES CHANGE AFTER BREXIT?

    Holidaymakers will be worrying about how Brexit will affect their phone bill when travelling abroad.

    It comes as MPs approved Boris Johnson's Brexit deal in the Commons by 521 to 73 votes.

    The Brexit deal will allow us to trade freely with the EU without tariffs or quotas and bring to an end four bitter years of Brexit wrangling.

    At the moment, Brits can use their monthly allowance of calls, texts and data without incurring any extra charges in 28 European destinations.

    It's part of the EU’s “roam like at home” rules, which have been in place since 2018.

    But fears are growing that this free benefit could come to an end when the UK leaves the EU Customs Union and Single Market on December 31, 2020.

    Here’s all you need to know.

  • Elizabeth Little

    BREXIT TRADE BILL PUSHED THROUGH IN RECORD DAY

    The Government today pushed through all stages of the Brexit trade bill in just one day — a new record — to ensure the 1,246 page deal is enshrined in law by the time for the end of the Brexit transition period ends at 11pm tomorrow night. 

    Not a single Tory MP voted against it, with just two refusing to support it by abstaining. 

    Ex-Cabinet ministers Owen Paterson and John Redwood raised concerns it could impact Northern Ireland’s place in the UK.

    Instead it was Labour who suffered a rebellion, with one in five refusing to follow Sir Keir Starmer’s order to back it.

    Helen Hayes and Tonia Antoniazzi quit their frontbench roles to abstain on the vote.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    MAY: ‘MY DEAL WAS BETTER THAN YOURS, BORIS’

    Theresa May claimed her own Brexit deal was "better" than Boris Johnson's in an extraordinary Commons clash today.

    The former PM said she was voting for his deal "in the national interest" – a dig at Tory colleagues who had repeatedly rebelled against her Brexit plans.

    The former PM launched a blistering attack on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his colleagues for failing to back her own Brexit deal.

    He had earlier claimed Mr Johnson's deal was "thin" and had "many flaws''.
    This prompted a furious diatribe from Mrs May, who said she had listened to his argument with “incredulity”.

    She blasted: “He said he wanted a better deal. He had the opportunity in early 2019 when there was the opportunity of a better deal on the table and he voted against it, so I will take no lectures from the leader of the Opposition on this deal.”

  • Elizabeth Little

    PM: BREXIT ALLOWS UK TO ‘HAVE ITS CAKE AND EAT IT’

    Boris Johnson tonight declared his Brexit deal allows the UK to have its cake and eat it – after MPs overwhelmingly backed it in a historic Commons vote.

    They ended years of wrangling over Europe by voting 521 to 73 in favour of the PM’s last-ditch Brexit deal.

    Four years, six months and seven days after Britain voted to leave the EU, Mr Johnson said the UK would finally take control of its “national destiny”.

    Tory MPs hailed it as the end of the “battle for Brexit” and praised Mr Johnson for “saving our democracy”.

    Read more here.

  • Elizabeth Little

    THREE LABOUR MPs RESIGN AFTER DEFYING KEIR STARMER'S ORDERS

    Three Labour MPs have resigned as junior frontbenchers after defying Sir Keir Starmer and refusing to vote for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

    The Labour leader ordered his party to vote in favour of the Prime Minister’s Brexit trade deal, arguing the alternative would be for the UK to leave the Brexit transition period without a EU trade agreement in place.

    Tonia Antoniazzi, the MP for Gower, Helen Hayes, the Dulwich and West Norwood MP, and Florence Eshalomi, the MP for Vauxhall, resigned from their junior frontbench posts so as to abstain as MPs voted on the legislation implementing the agreement.

    In a statement on her website, Hayes, who was a shadow Cabinet Office minister, said: “This is a bad deal which will make our country poorer. It will cost jobs, undermine our security, weaken our standing in the world, risk workers’ rights and environmental protections, and limit opportunities for our children and grandchildren.”

  • Elizabeth Little

    PM CONGRATULATES OXFORD VACCINE TEAM

    Boris Johnson has thanked the scientists and volunteers behind the Oxford / AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, following its approval for UK use today.

    The Prime Minister posted a photo to social media, showing his video call with the team responsible for the vaccine, as he congratulated them on today’s news.

  • Elizabeth Little

    CORBYN ISSUES BREXIT STATEMENT

    Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, has published a statement on his Facebook page detailing why he did not vote for the Brexit trade bill.

    The statement reads: “Whilst the public debate has been dominated by issues of fishing – and in the end there is a five-year extension on that matter – other matters however have received no scrutiny or debate, despite being crucial to the society we wish to be and the country we must build over the coming years.

    Of particular importance from a progressive perspective, is that far from protecting workers rights, and environmental standards, they apparently are dependent on whether or not they have any effect on 'trade or investment'.

    Indeed, Johnson confirmed this morning there would be no keeping up with any future alignment with the EU. We know what the Conservative agenda on these rights mean – they have never missed an opportunity to further exploit workers and our environment, and they have sought to create an opportunity for themselves in what they have negotiated …

    There has also been a claim that Johnson wanted to be free from the EU state aid rules, briefing that they were restrictive of government intervention to support economic development.

    My belief has always been that these are restrictive and would hamper a progressive Labour government trying to regenerate the most left behind parts of Britain – but this deal does not break free of state aid or public procurement restrictions, or of commitments to competition and privatisation of public services. They are baked into the deal.”

  • Elizabeth Little

    SIR KEIR STARMER: VOTE IN FAVOUR OF PM'S DEAL

    Sir Keir Starmer ordered his party to vote in favour of the Prime Minister’s Brexit trade deal, which was overwhelmingly approved by MPs today.

    The Labour leader argued the alternative would be for the UK to leave the Brexit transition period without a EU trade agreement in place.

    In a message to MPs who had planned to vote against the deal, Sir Keir said: "When the default is no deal it's not a mark of how pro-European you are to reject implementing this treaty.”

    "It isn't in the national interest to duck a question or to hide in the knowledge that others will save you from the consequences of your own vote."

    The Labour leader said the agreement would "put in place a floor from which we can build a strong future relationship with the EU" – however also criticised the "thin deal" as having "many flaws" and a "gaping hole" in the agreement's provisions for the services sector.

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