Brexit: Von der Leyen and Michel sign UK trade deal in Brussels
The Prime Minister gave two thumbs up after he put his name to the historic agreement which represents the climax of four and half years of bitter divisions and infighting since the 2016 referendum. The 1,240-page document outlines how the UK and EU will work together beyond the end of the transition period tomorrow night.
As well as the trade deal Mr Johnson has also put his name to an agreement on security and an agreement on nuclear energy.
The Prime Minister signed the international agreements in Downing Street this afternoon.
Speaking in the House of Commons this morning he described the trade treaty as “historic” and said it represented a new era for Britain.
He said: “We are going to open a new chapter in our national story, striking free trade deals around the world, adding to the agreements with 63 countries we have already achieved, and reasserting Global Britain as a liberal, outward-looking force for good.”
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The trade treaty was signed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel this morning.
At a short ceremony in Brussels the two European leaders put their names to the international agreement.
It was then flown via an RAF plane to London, accompanied by UK and EU officials, for it to be signed by the Prime Minister.
Mr Michel said: “The agreement that we signed today is the result of months of intense negotiations in which the European Union has displayed an unprecedented level of unity.
“It is a fair and balanced agreement that fully protects the fundamental interests of the European Union and creates stability and predictability for citizens and companies”.
Meanwhile, Ms von der Leyen said: “It has been a long road.
“It’s time now to put Brexit behind us.
“Our future is made in Europe.”
The trade deal was agreed between the UK and EU on Christmas Eve after a last-minute breakthrough on the issues which had plagued negotiations for months.
Fishing, state aid, and fair competition had stalled talks for months, with a compromise only found at the 11th hour.
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The member states of the EU have already given their endorsement to the deal but it must also be ratified by Parliament in Westminster before it comes into place.
MPs and peers are currently holding an extraordinary sitting to approve the deal today, less than 48 hours before it is due to come into place.
The Commons has already given its approval to the agreement and is now being debated in the House of Lords.
It is expected the Bill will complete the Parliamentary process late tonight at which point the Queen can sign it into law.
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