The Government’s proposed trade deal with the European Union has been passed in the House of Commons by 521 votes to 73 votes. The arrangement will mean that a no deal situation has been avoided, with the new rules coming into force on 1 January 2021.
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, said in his statement:
“I have always said that Brexit is not an end but a beginning, and the responsibility now rests with all of us to make the best use of the powers that we have regained and the tools that we have taken back into our hands. We are going to begin by fulfilling our manifesto promise to maintain the highest standards of labour and environmental regulation, because no caricature can be more inaccurate than the idea of some bargain-basement Dickensian Britain, as if enlightened EU regulation has been our only salvation from Dickensian squalor. Our national standards have always been among the very best in the world, and this House can be trusted to use its new freedom to keep them that way without any outside invigilation.”
Keir Starmer, the Leader of the Opposition, said that the deal was “thin”, but that he backed it as it avoided a no deal situation. He said in his speech:
“I am glad that there is a deal and I will vote for the Bill to implement it, because a deal is far better than no deal. That is the right thing to do. But to pretend that the deal is not what it is is not being honest, and nor is it a base from which we can go forward. To pretend that there are no non-tariff barriers when there are is just not true.”
The House of Lords is meeting later today to approve the Bill, with Royal Assent expected this evening.