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Brexit news – live: MPs vote overwhelmingly in favour of Boris Johnson’s EU trade deal

Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade legislation has cleared its first hurdle in the House of Commons with a comfortable majority

After little over four hours’ debate, MPs voted by 521 to 73 to give the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill, ratifying the deal finally agreed on Christmas Eve, a third reading.

Parliament was recalled to give its ruling on the trade agreement today, more than four years after the matter was put to the public in 2016.

The Bill will now go to the House of Lords, where the debate is expected to continue until around 10.30pm tomorrow.

The European Union’s top officials formally signed the post-Brexit trade deal today, before it was flown across the Channel to London in an RAF plane for the prime minister to sign.

The agreement needs approval from the House of Lords and from the EU’s legislature, which is not expected to take up the deal for weeks.


Labour MPs quit over Brexit deal, reports suggest

Three Labour MPs are rumoured to have resigned after ignoring Sir Keir Starmer’s wishes and refusing to vote for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

Tonia Antoniazzi, MP for Gower, Helen Hayes, Dulwich and West Norwood MP, and Florence Eshalomi, MP for Vauxhall, are all said to have given up their junior frontbench positions in order to abstain, according to reports in the Guardian

Mr Starmer announced on Christmas Eve that he would whip his party to support the last-ditch deal, but some Labour MPs felt uncomfortable supporting a deal they believed would damage the economy.

In total, 36 Labour MPs abstained in the vote, including Stella Creasy, Neil Coyle, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Diane Abbott.

Bell Ribeiro-Addy, MP for Streatham, went a step further than the rest, voting against the deal.

Sam Hancock30 December 2020 18:12

‘We can reduce Brexit sorrow by building new connections with Europe’

This opinion piece, by Sandra Khadhouri, provides some thoughts on how the UK can steer its future relations with the EU.

“Our challenge therefore is to keep open the channels of cooperation to prevent UK drift, grow our European identity and lay the trail to a closer relationship.

This goal is the focus of our new initiative “Keeping Channels Open – Beyond Brexit”, supported  by the German liberal-leaning Friedrich Naumann Foundation as a series of roundtables with senior figures from the realms of politics, academia and civil society.”

Sam Hancock30 December 2020 17:43

Commons photos of the day as PM gets Brexit deal through

Here are some photos of the day from Jessica Taylor, the Commons’ official photographer:

Sam Hancock30 December 2020 17:13

Sir Lindsay scolds Hunt for dress code violation in virtual call

Jeremy Hunt appeared virtually in the Commons on Wednesday to ask Matt Hancock about the change in coronavirus tiers across the UK, and was told off for his appearance. 

Following his question, and before health secretary Mr Hancock could respond, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle took the time to scold Mr Hunt for not following the Commons’ formal dress code.

Mr Hunt appeared to be wearing a formal shirt – as is required – but no jacket or tie, and had his top button undone.

Previous Speaker John Bercow allowed members to remove their jackets but only during heatwaves when the Chambers are said to be uncomfortably warm.

Jeremy Hunt told off by Commons Speaker for not wearing tie and having top button undone
Sam Hancock30 December 2020 16:54

Brexit deal will leave ‘huge gaps’ in security, Starmer warns

Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal will leave “huge gaps” in security, Sir Keir Starmer has warned MPs.

Addressing the House of Commons, the prime minister said it “provides certainty for our police, for our border forces, for our security agencies, who work alongside our European friends to keep our people safe”.

But the Labour leader said the deal “will mean huge gaps in security”, adding: “It’s got many flaws … but a thin deal is better than no deal.”

Our home affairs correspondent Lizzie Dearden reports:

Sam Hancock30 December 2020 16:40

RAF flew deal from Brussels to London for PM to sign

It has been revealed that after European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel formally signed the UK-EU Brexit agreement, the documents were then flown to London by the RAF where Mr Johnson put his name to it.

Sam Hancock30 December 2020 16:25

Brexit deal officially signed by Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has formally signed the post-Brexit trade deal with the EU, describing it as a “new beginning”. The moment was captured on camera by the world’s media.

Sam Hancock30 December 2020 16:08

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Scottish Parliament withholds consent for Brexit deal

The Scottish Parliament has voted to withhold consent for the Brexit deal after first minister Nicola Sturgeon described it as the “worst negotiating outcome in history”.

SNP, Scottish Labour, Scottish Green and Scottish Liberal Democrat MSPs all voted in favour of a legislative consent memorandum warning that the agreement “would cause severe damage to Scotland’s environmental, economic and social interests”.

A Scottish Labour amendment urging the UK and Scottish government to protect workers’ rights, the Erasmus student exchange scheme and environmental standards was passed by 94 votes to 30.

The amended memorandum was passed by 92 votes to 30, with one abstention.

A Scottish Conservative amendment calling for consent to be given to the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill was defeated by 94 votes to 30.

Samuel Osborne30 December 2020 15:58

Peers urged to put Brexit turbulence behind them

Peers have been urged to put years of turbulence over Brexit behind them and look forward to a new chapter in the UK’s relationship with the EU.

Lords leader Baroness Evans of Bowes Park said the trade deal, already backed by MPs, would allow the UK to “take advantage of freedoms outside the EU”.

Opening second reading debate on the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill, Lady Evans said it marked “the beginning of a new chapter for our country”.

The “historic” deal was worth over £660bn and delivered on commitments made to the British people, she told the Lords.

Samuel Osborne30 December 2020 15:52

Three-quarters of England placed under tier coronavirus 4 restrictions

The Midlands and northeast of England, along with parts of the northwest and southwest, will be placed under the toughest tier 4 level of coronavirus restrictions from Thursday, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, has announced.

Political editor Andrew Woodcock reports:

Samuel Osborne30 December 2020 15:27