Brexit is finally done: UK Prime Minister Johnson signs and seals Britain’s historic divorce from EU
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson formally signed his Brexit trade deal with the EU on Wednesday after MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of the accord, putting the UK on track for an orderly split from Brussels at 11 pm tomorrow Wednesday night.
The official copy of the hard-fought 1,200-page trade pact was signed by Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, in Brussels this morning before it was flown to London on an RAF jet.
Johnson was then presented with the document in Number 10 as he did the honours and finally brought the curtain down on the Brexit saga which has dominated UK politics since the EU referendum in 2016.
The Prime Minister is crashing his trade agreement through Parliament in a single day and it cleared its final major hurdle in the House of Commons just before 3 pm as MPs voted by 521 to 73, a majority of 448, to approve it, according to Dailymail report.
The deal still has to be debated and voted on by the House of Lords and that will happen this evening before the Queen is then asked to rubber stamp it late tonight.
Earlier, a clearly jubilant Johnson delivered an upbeat message to the Commons about the country’s opportunities now the UK has ‘taken back control’.
Opening the Commons debate on his deal, Johnson urged an end to the ‘rancour and recrimination’ that have soured political life in recent years.
He said decades of tensions with the EU had been ‘resolved’ so Britain can be its closest friend, a free-trading power, and a ‘liberal, outward-looking force for good’.
He suggested far from trade being hit by leaving the single market and customs union it should mean ‘even more’ business being done.
“Having taken back control of our money, our borders, our laws and our waters by leaving the European Union on January 31, we now seize this moment to forge a fantastic new relationship with our European neighbours based on free trade and friendly co-operation,” Johnson said.
“At the heart of this Bill is one of the biggest free trade agreements in the world.”
The passage of the deal through the Commons was seen as a formality thanks to the PM’s 80-seat majority and the fact Sir Keir Starmer told Labour MPs they had to vote for it.
However, the Labour leader suffered a major rebellion as 36 Labour MPs, including former shadow Cabinet ministers Diane Abbott and Barry Gardiner, defied their leader’s instruction and chose to abstain.
Only one Labour MP voted against the deal, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, while former Labour leader and now independent MP Jeremy Corbyn abstained. Some 162 Labour MPs voted for the deal along with 359 Tories.
Two junior members of the Labour frontbench, Helen Hayes and Tonia Antoniazzi, quit their roles after they abstained.
In a tough message to would-be mutineers, Sir Keir had said this morning: ‘Those that vote ”no” are voting for No Deal.’
Some 44 SNP MPs, 11 Lib Dems and 8 DUP MPs were among those to have voted against the deal.
Ex-PM Theresa May had delivered a stinging attack saying her agreement with the EU – repeatedly rejected by the House in 2019 before she was evicted from No10 – had been ‘better’ as she berated Sir Keir for failing to support it.