Brexit deal done, trade agreement between UK and EU
Brexit deal done, trade agreement finally struck between UK and EU. MPs and peers will be recalled to parliament on 30 December to ratify the treaty.
A long-awaited trade deal between the UK and the EU has been struck just days before the deadline. The treaty will apply from 1 January 2021 and take over from the arrangements under the transition period, which has seen the UK continue to follow most EU rules since Brexit day.
The prime minister promised the deal will allow companies “to do even more business with our European friends” while “taking back control of our laws and our destiny” – echoing a key message of the Vote Leave campaign.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer announced he will back the deal, meaning it is almost guaranteed to pass, but argued it is a “thin agreement” and not what the government promised as it does not provide enough protections for manufacturing, workers’ rights or financial services.
In her own address, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it had been a “long and winding road” – but that striking a deal was “right and responsible”.
She added Brussels would “continue cooperating with the UK in all areas of mutual interest” such as climate change, transport and security – but that “together we still achieve more than we do apart”.
On the key issue of fishing, Ms von der Leyen revealed the deal had guaranteed five-and-a-half years of “full predictability for our fishing communities”.
She said the UK’s chief negotiators had been “tough but fair” and the talks had been “successful”.
In her final comments, Ms von der Leyen said: “Today, I only feel quiet satisfaction and, frankly speaking, relief.
“I know this is a difficult day for some, and to our friends in the UK I want to say: Parting is such sweet sorrow.
“But to use a line from T.S. Eliot, what we call the beginning is often the end and to make an end is to make a beginning.
“So to all Europeans I say: It is time to leave Brexit behind, our future is made in Europe.”