A post-Brexit trade deal has been agreed by negotiators from the UK and the European Union after months of talks and frantic last-minute wrangling.
The deal was secured on Christmas Eve, a week before current trading arrangements expire.
A UK source said the deal delivered “everything that the British public was promised during the 2016 referendum”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen were in close contact over recent days to help get the deal over the line.
But negotiations led by the EU’s Michel Barnier and the UK’s Lord Frost continued throughout the day as final details were hammered out.
Ireland’s premier has welcomed a Brexit trade deal struck between the UK and EU.
Micheal Martin described the accord as “very welcome” following “four long years of negotiations”.
The Taoiseach said he hopes the accord will be approved by both the UK and EU to allow it to be in force by January 1.
However, Nicola Sturgeon Tweeted: “Before the spin starts, it’s worth remembering that Brexit is happening against Scotland’s will. And there is no deal that will ever make up for what Brexit takes away from us. It’s time to chart our own future as an independent, European nation.”
Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, says the deal will be “disastrous” for Scottish farmers because seed potatoes are excluded from third country listing.
Scotland’s Brexit secretary Michael Russell says that he understands Barnier’s remark about “relief tinged with sadness”.
He tweeted: “After so long dealing with #Brexit I understand @MichelBarnier ‘s remark about feeling “relief tinged with sadness”. For me however sadness about the destructive folly that is being foisted upon us is tinged with relief that Scotland can choose to leave this mess behind.”
Steve Peers Tweeted: “Barnier confirms that UK will not participate in Erasmus programme.”
Peter Foster Tweeted: “So @BorisJohnson says that the deal he has negotiation will “if anything” allow UK businesses to do “even more” trade with the European Union. I think fair to say that is an optimistic view of where industry sees it. #Brexit.”
Boris Johnson claimed “there will be no non-tariff barriers to trade” following the Brexit trade deal. It’s a claim challenged by Robert Peston – who has accused him of “mis-selling” the agreement.
“That’s not right,” said the ITV host. “Michael Gove has been warning about this week in, week out for months. There is a ton of new bureaucracy on British businesses – lots of non-tariff barriers … You’re mis-selling it.”
Johnson said: “Robert, respectfully, I would disagree with you.”
Femi Tweeted: “The first question the EU commission was asked by a French journalist after the #BrexitDeal was signed: “The UK broke the last deal within months of signing it. How can you be sure they won’t break this one?” Thanks Brexiteers, for doing this to our international reputation.”
David Schneider shared this Tweet…
Another joke video that is doing the rounds today is this…
Devil in the detail?
Ex-PM Theresa May warned the devil is in the detail. She remarked: “Very welcome news that the UK & EU have reached agreement on the terms of a deal – one that provides confidence to business and helps keep trade flowing. Looking forward to seeing the detail in the coming days.”
So where is the detail? Well this seems to be about it for the minute for the public.
PM is happy with himself
The PM is clearly happy with the deal, tweeting this.
Check out his tie
However, not everyone is as happy as the PM about the deal. Anna Soubry Tweeted: “Never before has a country so spectacularly shot its self in the foot. We are no longer “Great” Britain or a United Kingdom. Leaving the #EU the single market & customs union diminishes our country, will make us all a little poorer & narrow our horizons. #BrexitDeal.”
A Downing Street source said: “We have taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters.
“The deal is fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK. We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that has ever been achieved with the EU.
“The deal is the biggest bilateral trade deal signed by either side, covering trade worth £668 billion in 2019.”
The deal takes the UK out of the “lunar pull of the EU”, no longer bound by Brussels’ rules or the judgments of the European Court of Justice.
“All of our key red lines about returning sovereignty have been achieved,” the source said.
“It means that we will have full political and economic independence on January 1 2021.”
Echoing the Prime Minister’s election slogan, the source said “we have got Brexit done”.
European Commission chief Mrs von der Leyen said: “We have finally found an agreement.
“It was a long and winding road, but we have got a good deal to show for it.
“It is fair, it is a balanced deal, and it is the right and responsible thing to do for both sides.”
She said the deal meant “EU rules and standards will be respected” with “effective tools to react” if the UK side tries to undercut Brussels to seek a competitive advantage.
There will be a five-and-a-half year transition period for the fishing industry, she indicated.
However the Telegraph reports that: “Angry British fisherman say they have been betrayed by the Government, accusing Boris Johnson of “bottling it”
“The EU will return only 25% of the value of fish caught in its waters during a five and a half year transition period.”
And co-operation will continue on issues including climate change, energy, security and transport.
Leave Brexit behind
Mrs von der Leyen said she felt “quiet satisfaction” and “relief” that a deal had been concluded.
“It is time to leave Brexit behind, our future is made in Europe,” she added.
Guy Verhofstadt Tweeted: “I hope future UK politicians will build on this partnership so we can regain the close relationship deserve. It will be a first step in the return of the UK into the European family.”
And it wouldn’t be Brexit without Nigel Farage. He Tweeted: “The war is over.” Let’s hope we never hear from him again. But I doubt that will be the case.