British lawmakers approve post-Brexit trade agreement with EU, voting 521 to 73

British lawmakers voted on Wednesday to approve legislation on the implementation of the post-Brexit trade agreement agreed with the European Union last week.

The vote on legislation to adopt the post-Brexit trade agreement was adopted by 521 to 73 votes in the lower house. It now goes to the upper house for approval later on Wednesday before it becomes law around midnight.

The UK and the European Union signed the deal on Wednesday and the British Parliament will complete the implementation and conclude it after four years of negotiations and the protection of almost $ 1 trillion in annual trade.

Both sides said it was a chance to start a new chapter in a relationship created when Europe was rebuilt after World War II, but which has often seen Britain as a reluctant participant in increasingly difficult political and economic integration.

Johnson, in a specially convened session of Parliament, said he hoped to work “hand in glove” with the EU as its interests were adjusted, using Britain’s newfound sovereignty to reshape the British economy.

“Brexit is not an end but a beginning,” Johnson said.

“The responsibility now lies with all of us to make the best use of the powers we regain, the tools we have taken back into our hands.”

The deal has been criticized on several fronts since it was agreed on December 24. The opposition’s Labor Party says it is too thin and does not protect trade in services, fishermen anger that Johnson has sold out his interests and Northern Ireland’s status remains. uncertain.

Still, Johnson has won the support of his party’s tough Brexiteers – giving a break with the EU much more radical than many thought when Britain shocked the world in 2016 by voting to leave.

Longtime Eurosceptic lawmaker Bill Cash said Johnson had saved Britain’s democracy from four decades of “submission” to Brussels: “Like Alexander the Great, Boris has cut the Gordian knot.”

Johnson said he hoped to end the “old, tired, troubled issue of Britain’s political relations with Europe” and instead become “the best friend and ally the EU could have”.

New chapter

Earlier, against the backdrop of EU flags, top EU officials signed the treaties concluded on 24 December to preserve Britain’s duty – free access to the bloc’s 450 million consumers.

“It is of the utmost importance for the European Union and the United Kingdom to look ahead, to a new chapter in their relations,” the EU said in a statement.

An aircraft from the British Royal Air Force delivered the documents, which bear the EU’s golden stars on a blue leather folder, to Johnson, who was to sign it around 1500 GMT.

The aircraft then takes a signed copy back to Brussels. The UK formally left the EU almost a year ago and the new partnership agreement will regulate ties from 1 January on everything from trade to transport, energy relations and fisheries.

Once both sides have signed, the deal will be in place by the end of February, pending final approval by the European Parliament to make it permanent.

(REUTERS)