Update (1000ET): After the Brexit deal easily passed its third reading vote, finally clearing the House of Commons, PM Boris Johnson sat down for an interview with BBC Brexit scribe and editor Laura Kuenssberg, where he proclaimed that the deal will allow Britain to “have its cake and eat it.”
Boris Johnson has claimed his post-Brexit trade deal with the EU allows the UK to have its cake and eat it. In an interview BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg, the prime minister refused to acknowledge it will mean new barriers to trade. He conceded that there would be “changes” for business when the UK leaves EU trading rules on Thursday. But he insisted the deal would allow the UK to “go our own way but also have free trade” with the EU.
Once the deal passes the House of Lords, the Queen will need to sign the bill (something known as Royal Assent). Though the Queen may need to stay up quite late, depending on what time debate in the House of Lords finally wraps up.
After that, the process of implementing what the NYT described as “the biggest overnight change in modern commercial relations” will begin.
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The trade agreement negotiated between the UK and EU has, as expected, passed the House of Commons in a vote of 521 to 73, with a few members from a range of parties rejecting the deal for various reasons, even as the Labour leadership backed it.
Before the vote, the leader of the tiny DUP, the conservative unionist party based in Northern Ireland, said they and their party members would oppose the deal. Leaders of the SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru have all instructed their MPs to vote against the deal, while Green MP Caroline Lucas said she will vote against it too. Meanwhile, the European Research Group, the bastion of Brexiteer dissent that helped bring about the downfall of Theresa May, published a three-page summary yesterday explaining its support for the deal.
Rachel Reeves, who was among the Labour MPs who decided to abstain from the vote, announced she would stand down from her junior shadow ministerial role, presumably due to her refusal to support the deal.
This is my resignation letter to Keir Starmer setting out some of the reasons behind my decision. pic.twitter.com/tLD7loqkjW
— Tonia Antoniazzi MP 🌈 🇺🇦 (@ToniaAntoniazzi) December 30, 2020
Before the vote, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove winds up the debate for the government, saying four and a half years after the referendum vote “we can say we have kept faith with the people,” he said. “This bill takes back control of our laws, borders and waters.”
The pound, which had been sliding all morning, jerked higher on the headline.
The vote puts the deal on track to become international law within hours. It’s expected to pass in the House of Lords, as well as the EU Parliament in Brussels.