U.K. Lawmakers Approve Post-Brexit Trade Deal With European Union
December 30, 2020
The U.K.’s House of Commons voted resoundingly today to approve a trade deal with the European Union, paving the way for an orderly break with the bloc that will finally complete the U.K.’s years-long Brexit journey.
With just a day to spare, lawmakers voted 521-73 in favour of the agreement sealed between the U.K. government and the EU last week.
It will become British law once it passes through the un-elected House of Lords later in the day and gets formal royal assent from Queen Elizabeth.
The U.K. left the EU almost a year ago, but remained within the bloc’s economic embrace during a transition period that ends at midnight Brussels time —- 11 p.m. in London — on Thursday.
The European Parliament also must sign off on the agreement, but is not expected to do so for several weeks.
Just after the EU’s top officials formally signed the hard-won agreement in Brussels, Johnson urged legislators in Britain’s House of Commons to back a deal that he said heralded “a new relationship between Britain and the EU as sovereign equals.”
The agreement, hammered out after more than nine months of tense negotiations and sealed on Christmas Eve, will ensure Britain and the 27-nation EU can continue to trade in goods without tariffs or quotas. That should help protect the 660 billion pounds ($1.15 trillion Cdn) in annual trade between the two sides, and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that rely on it.