Boris Johnson has said that after his EU trade agreement passed Parliament and came into effect, the fate of the UK “is now firmly in our hands”
As the government moved approval through both houses in a single day, the EU (Future Relationship) Act got the backing of both the Commons and the Lords.
Around 12:25 a.m. It was announced on Thursday morning that the legislation had obtained royal assent, putting into force the agreement concluded on Christmas Eve between the United Kingdom and the EU.
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The legislation is paving the way for the agreement to enter into effect at 11 p.m. Thursday, when the present adjustment phase for Brexit – during which the U.K. Continues to obey EU law – ends.
The Bill of the European Union (Future Relationship) has now completed its #HouseofLords point. The Bill now goes to Royal Assent, and will then be reported to pic.twitter.com/NgG3nUp23YYY to both Houses of Parliament.
– House of Lords, December 30, 2020 (@UKHouseofLords).
“The prime minister said in a statement after the deal was passed by Parliament, “I want to thank my colleagues and colleagues for passing this historic bill and express my gratitude to all the workers here in Parliament and throughout government who have made it possible today.
This great country’s destiny is now firmly in our hands. With a sense of mission and with the aspirations of the British public at the core of all we do, we undertake this role.
“December 31 at 11pm marks a new beginning in our country’s history and a new relationship with the EU as its greatest ally. This moment has finally arrived, and now is the time to seize it.”
On the third reading, MPs approved the bill by 521 votes to 73, while peers passed a third reading late Wednesday night with no votes against.
Despite reservations from some pro-EU MPs who said they would abstain or vote against it, the Labour Party supported the agreement.
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The agreement was “thin” and had “many flaws,” party leader Sir Keir Starmer said, but the alternative was to leave the EU single market and customs union without a contract that would drive rates up and drive companies to the wall.
The divisions have stopped. We now have to forge a new future for our country, pic.twitter.com/1e7r2KwnFEEFEE.
– Keir Starmer (@Keir Starmer) 30 December 2020
But he faced a revolt that forced two junior shadow ministers, Helen Hayes and Tonia Antoniazzi, to announce their resignation because they were unable to accept the agreement, from their positions on the Labour frontbench.
Bell Ribeiro-Addy, one Labor MP, defied the whips and voted against the deal, while the other 36 MPs abstained.
The deal was opposed by all other opposition parties, including the DUP, which supports Brexit but opposes provisions which mean that Northern Ireland will remain subject to certain EU rules.
Tory Euroskeptics applauded and announced that the “battle for Brexit” was eventually won.
“Like Alexander the Great, Boris has cut the Gordian knot.” Veteran Sir Bill Cash said.
One of the self-styled Spartans who opposed the Brexit withdrawal deal by Theresa May, Mark Francois, said they should “lower our spears.” now.
Earlier, President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission and President Charles Michel of the European Council officially signed the deal.
The documents were then flown by the RAF to London after a brief ceremony in Brussels, where Mr. Johnson put his name on them.
“The agreement we signed today is the result of months of intense negotiations in which the European Union has demonstrated an unprecedented degree of unity,” Mr. Michel said.
“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 businesses.”
At Holyrood, the Scottish Parliament voted 92 to 30 to withhold the agreement’s statutory approval, while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon admitted that the passage of the bill at Westminster would have little effect.
“The fact is that Scotland’s voice on Brexit has been ignored all along, every single step of the way,” she said.