The UK’s new trade deal signed with the EU on Christmas Eve was yesterday ratified in Parliament and last night signed by the Queen.
On 23 June 2016, the British people voted by a margin of 52%-48% to leave the European Union. After 2 Prime Ministers, 4.5 years and a global pandemic, the finalised Brexit deal is now UK law.
After 5 hours of debating in the House of Commons, MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of the EU (Future Relationship) Bill. The deal was passed by a ratio of 521-73 votes.
The Leader of the Opposition said his party would back Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deal and whipped his MPs to vote for it, despite describing the agreement as “thin”.
The parties voting against the deal included the SNP, DUP, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrats and some Labour MPs, with others abstaining. Conservative MPs John Redwood and Owen Paterson also abstained, citing concerns about Northern Ireland’s position in the new deal.
“We now seize this moment to now forge a fantastic new relationship with our European neighbours based on free trade and friendly co-operation”
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) December 30, 2020
The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, declared during the parliamentary session:
“We know that the only way to regain the huge benefits of EU membership is to become an independent state at the heart of Europe once more. That is a decision that the Scottish people will make and we begin that journey today.”
Former Prime Minister Theresa May also condemned Sir Keir Starmer for criticising the PM’s deal. She noted that, in his terms, her own version of Brexit would have been more palatable, yet he voted against that. She then went on to vote in favour of Johnson’s deal herself.
The deal also passed swiftly though the House of Lords.
Although the UK left the EU in January this year, it remained in a transition period during which it abided by all EU laws and procedures, which ends at 11pm tonight.
Shortly after midnight this morning, the Queen gave Royal Assent to the deal, enshrining it in UK law.