Brexit deal will bring 'new chapter' for UK, Boris Johnson says

29 December 2020, 22:33 | Updated: 30 December 2020, 10:22

Boris Johnson will tell MPs that his Brexit deal will bring in a new chapter for the UK
Boris Johnson will tell MPs that his Brexit deal will bring in a new chapter for the UK. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Boris Johnson has promised a "new chapter" for the UK with his Brexit deal which is expected to pass through Parliament on Wednesday.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister said that Britain will continue to be "the best friend and ally the EU could have".

Mr Johnson told MPs the UK will be a "friendly neighbour" to the bloc and will work "hand in glove" with Europe when the two sides' values and interests align.

Politicians have returned to Westminster after being called back for one day to vote on the Bill, which they are expected to support.

In his speech, Mr Johnson told MPs that the legislation's central purpose is to "accomplish something which the British people always knew in their hearts could be done, but which we were told was impossible".

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He added: "We have done this in less than a year, in the teeth of a pandemic, and we have pressed ahead with this task, resisting all calls for delay, precisely because creating certainty about our future provides the best chance of beating Covid and bouncing back even more strongly next year."

Mr Johnson continued: "We will now open a new chapter in our national story, striking free trade deals around the world, adding to the agreements with 63 countries we have already achieved, and reasserting Global Britain as a liberal, outward-looking force for good.

"Those of us who campaigned for Britain to leave the EU never sought a rupture with our closest neighbours.

"We would never wish to rupture ourselves from fellow democracies beneath whose soil lie British war graves in tranquil cemeteries, often tended by local schoolchildren, testament to our shared struggle for freedom and everything we cherish in common.

"What we sought was not a rupture but a resolution, a resolution of the old and vexed question of Britain's political relations with Europe, which bedevilled our post-War history."

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He concluded: "First we stood aloof, then we became a half-hearted, sometimes obstructive member of the EU.

"Now, with this Bill, we shall be a friendly neighbour, the best friend and ally the EU could have, working hand in glove whenever our values and interests coincide while fulfilling the sovereign wish of the British people to live under their own laws, made by their own elected Parliament.

"That is the historic resolution delivered by this Bill."

The European Union (Future Relationship) Bill is expected to sail through the Commons, despite the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the DUP, the SDLP, Alliance and the Liberal Democrats all suggesting they will not back it.

Across the UK, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Senedd and the Stormont Executive Northern Ireland will also all sit on Wednesday to consider the Bill.

Whereas, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has urged those in his party to vote for the legislation, despite concerns that it will fail to protect many key economic sectors.