Thursday, December 31, 2020 8:50 am
The post-Brexit trade bill has received the royal assent from Queen Elizabeth II, Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said in the early hours of Thursday, meaning it is now officially law in Britain.
The legislation, officially called the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020, sets out the trade rules between Britain and the bloc from Jan. 1.
On Wednesday, it was presented to British Parliament where elected lawmakers in the House of Commons voted 521 to 73 – a majority of 448 – in support of the deal.
It then received an unopposed third reading in the House of Lords after nearly eight hours of debate.
Shortly after the House of Lords result, the Queen gave it her official stamp of approval, officially turning the bill into British law.
In response to the approval from the House of Lords, Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked lawmakers and peers for passing his post-Brexit trade deal.
“The destiny of this great country now resides firmly in our hands,” he said.
“We take on this duty with a sense of purpose and with the interests of the British public at the heart of everything we do.
“11p.m. on Dec. 31 marks a new beginning in our country’s history and a new relationship with the EU as their biggest ally.
“This moment is finally upon us and now is the time to seize it,” he added.
The approval comes after the European Union and Britain signed the post-Brexit deal on Wednesday.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council chief Charles Michel put their ink on the agreement on Wednesday morning and Johnson followed several hours later at 1600 GMT.
“It has been a long road. It’s time now to put Brexit behind us. Our future is made in Europe,” von der Leyen said on Twitter after the signing ceremony.
In a similar vein, Michel hailed the signing of the agreement as the beginning of different trade relations with London.
“New chapter, new relationship,” Michel said.
Johnson took a more humorous tone and told reporters: “I know the question you’ll all be asking yourselves is ‘Have I read it?’
“The answer is yes, and it’s an excellent deal for this country but also for our friends and partners.”
The 27 EU ambassadors gave their go-ahead for the provisional application on Tuesday afternoon.
The deal – which provides for zero tariffs and zero quotas between the trading partners – still needs to be ratified by the European Parliament.
The European Commission proposed a period of provisional application until Feb. 28, but this might be extended if the lawmakers are scheduled to give their approval in March. (dpa/NAN)