politics

Boris Johnson hails ‘new beginning’ as he signs Brexit deal with MPs and Lords voting to make it law


BORIS Johnson hailed a “new beginning” 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.

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Boris hailed his Brexit deal as he signed it this afternoon

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Boris hailed his Brexit deal as he signed it this afternoonCredit: Crown Copyright
The PM signing the deal this afternoon

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The PM signing the deal this afternoonCredit: Instagram
The PM inking his name to the agreement

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The PM inking his name to the agreementCredit: Getty Images – Getty

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.

The bill was taken to Windsor Castle for the Queen to approve, and she gave it Royal Assent just after midnight. 

That will pave 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.

The PM said: “I want to thank my fellow MPs and peers for passing this historic Bill and would like to express my gratitude to all of the staff here in Parliament and across Government who have made today possible.

“The destiny of this great country now resides firmly in our hands.

“We take on this duty with a sense of purpose and with the interests of the British public at the heart of everything we do… 11pm on the 31st December marks a new beginning in our country’s history and a new relationship with the EU as their biggest ally.

“This moment is finally upon us and now is the time to seize it.”

No10 said at 11pm on December 31 when the transition period ends, the PM will be in Downing Street with his family.

The destiny of this great country now resides firmly in our hands

Boris Johnson

Just two Tories rebelled on the Brexit trade deal – Owen Paterson and John Redwood, who abstained on the agreement.

36 leftie Labour MPs did not vote, including Diane Abbott, Barry Gardiner, John McDonnell and Rebecca Long-Bailey.

Helen Hayes quit her position on Labour’s shadow team so she could rebel, and just one Labour MP voted against the deal – Bell Ribeiro-Addy.

Only SNP, DUP, Plaid Cymru and a handful of Labour MPs opposed the bill today.

It came as:

Boris Johnson's Brexit Bill passed the second reading

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Boris Johnson’s Brexit Bill passed the second readingCredit: HOC/JESSICA TAYLOR
The full text of the deal - signed by both sides today

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The full text of the deal – signed by both sides todayCredit: Getty Images – Getty
EU boss Ursula Von Der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel showed off the deal today

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EU boss Ursula Von Der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel showed off the deal todayCredit: EPA
The RAF Plane touches down with the Brexit agreement on board 

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The RAF Plane touches down with the Brexit agreement on board Credit: Universal News & Sport (Scotland)

Mr Johnson attempted to join the nation and MPs together by promising today that Britain would be “the best friend and ally the EU could have”, whilst fulfilling the “sovereign wish” of the British people to live under their own laws.

He told MPs ahead of the momentous vote this afternoon: “Having taken back control of our money, our laws, our borders and our waters from the European Union on January 1.

“We now seize this moment to forge a new relationship with our European neighbours based on free trade and friendly cooperations”.

He hailed the deal as one of the “biggest free trade agreements in the world” – at more than £600billion.

And it was now up to us what we do with the new-found freedoms the country has finally taken back.

“I have always said Brexit is not the end but a beginning,” he added.

He told the Commons his deal “should allow companies to do even more business” with the EU in future too and protect “millions of jobs and livelihoods in UK and across the continent.”

“In less than 48 hours, we will leave the EU single market and the customs union, as we promised.”

He said it accomplished something which “the British people always knew in their hearts could be done” – access to the market but the ability to set our own laws.

The PM added: “We were told we could not have our cake and eat it – how many times were we told that?”

Britain will now be able to “trade and cooperate – while retaining sovereign control of our laws and our national destiny.”

“EU law will no longer have any special status in the UK,” he added.

“And there is no jurisdiction for the European Court of Justice.”

And he stressed “we have nothing to fear if we sometimes choose to do things differently” and it was possibly to change our laws in future if we wished.

A boyant and vibrant PM added: “We will be free Mr Speaker of EU state aid rules,

“We’ll be able to decide where and how we level up across our country with new jobs and new hope.”

The PM lashed out at Labour boss Sir Keir Starmer today for suggesting he could change the Brexit agreement in future, saying: “We got Brexit done, let’s keep Brexit done.”

But Sir Keir said today “a thin deal is better than no deal” and vowed his party would back it in the Commons later.

He added to Plaid Cymru critics who will oppose it: “Those who vote no, are voting for deal.

“Does he want No to succeed in the vote?”

He urged Britain to “come together and look to a better future”, adding:

“The Leave/Remain argument is over – no matter which side you were on.”

MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal

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MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of the dealCredit: HOC/JESSICA TAYLOR
Sir Keir Starmer said there was no option but to vote for the deal

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Sir Keir Starmer said there was no option but to vote for the dealCredit: HOC/JESSICA TAYLOR
Theresa May said the deal was poor for Britain's financial services

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Theresa May said the deal was poor for Britain’s financial servicesCredit: HOC/JESSICA TAYLOR

Former PM Theresa May spoke up first in the debate, vowing to back the deal today.

And she started with a blast at Sir Keir Starmer for voting against her Brexit deal in the past, saying: “I will take no lectures from the leader of the opposition on this deal.”

But she expressed her disappointment in not reaching an agreement on service – which forms a big part of Britain’s economy.

She said: “Sadly, it has not been achieved.

“We have a deal on trade that benefits the EU, but not on services that would benefit the UK.”

Von Der Leyen signing the deal

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Von Der Leyen signing the dealCredit: EPA
Boris with his copy of the deal

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Boris with his copy of the dealCredit: Crown Copyright
Boris Johnson outlined the deal on Christmas eve

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Boris Johnson outlined the deal on Christmas eveCredit: PA:Press Association
Michel Barnier and EU nations signed it off earlier this week

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Michel Barnier and EU nations signed it off earlier this weekCredit: AFP or licensors
The PM opened the debate ahead of the vote

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The PM opened the debate ahead of the voteCredit: supplied by Pixel8000
Landmark post-Brexit deal signed in Brussels





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