Brexit news latest – Scottish Labour to vote AGAINST trade deal as Keir Starmer backs agreement despite rebellion

SCOTTISH Labour is set to vote AGAINST the Brexit trade deal.

The party's leader Richard Leonard said the agreement between the UK Government and the EU was "half-baked".

The SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Liberal Democrats are also expected to refuse consent to the deal in Wednesday's vote.

Scottish Labour's decision puts it at odds with the UK party, with leader Sir Keir Starmer calling on Labour MPs to support the "thin" post-Brexit free trade agreement, despite concerns that it will fail to protect many key economic sectors.

Sir Keir has argued that the alternative of ending the Brexit transition period on December 31 without a deal in place would be even worse for the economy.

Follow our Brexit live blog for all the latest news and updates…

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

    Brexiteer MPs have backed Boris Johnson's historic trade deal with the EU.

    The European Research Group (ERG) of backbench politicians have said the pact will protect British sovereignty and have vowed to vote for it in the Commons tomorrow.

    The group's "star chamber" of Brexiteer lawyers have advised them that the "FTA is consistent with restoration of UK sovereignty".

    The same set of lawyers repeatedly refused to throw their support behind Theresa May's deal.

    The PM insisted last week the deal would survive even the most "ruthless" scrutiny from the ERG's lawyers

    A three-page statement said: "Our overall conclusion is that the Agreement preserves the UK’s sovereignty as a matter of law and fully respects the norms of international sovereign-to-sovereign treaties.

    "The 'level playing field' clauses go further than in comparable trade agreements, but their impact on the practical exercise of sovereignty is likely to be limited if addressed by a robust government.

    "In any event they do not prevent the UK from changing its laws as it sees fit at a risk of tariff countermeasures, and if those were unacceptable the Agreement could be terminated on 12 months’ notice."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    TURKISH DELIGHT

    Britain has signed a bumper trade deal with Turkey today as the ink on the EU agreement was still drying.

    Trade Secretary Liz Truss signed off a £18.6bn pact yesterday as Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the nation can now "do things a bit differently" after sealing the Christmas Brexit deal.

    The latest agreement, which comes into effect on January 1, provides a major boost for British car industry, manufacturing and steel industries and lays the groundwork for an enhanced relationship in the future.

    Trade between the two countries was worth more than $25billion in 2019.

    Today's deal will secureexisting preferential tariffs for some 7,600 British businesses that exported goods to Turkey in 2019.

    So farm Ms Truss and her team have now agreed trade deals with 62 countries, alongside the new EU deal – accounting for around £885bn of UK trade.

    She said: “Today’s deal covers trade worth more than £18 billion, delivers vital certainty for business and supports thousands of jobs across the UK in the manufacturing, automotive and steel industries.

    “It paves the way for a new, more ambitious deal with Turkey in the near future, and is part of our plan to put the UK at the centre of a network of modern agreements with dynamic economies."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    CONTINUED

    Scottish Labour's decision puts it at odds with the UK party, with leader Sir Keir Starmer calling on Labour MPs to support the "thin" post-Brexit free trade agreement, despite concerns that it will fail to protect many key economic sectors.

    Sir Keir has argued that the alternative of ending the Brexit transition period on December 31 without a deal in place would be even worse for the economy.

    Following Mr Leonard's announcement, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross tweeted: "Given the choice to back a trade deal or vote with the SNP, is anyone really surprised that Scottish Labour are set to line up behind the Nationalists?"

    In Westminster, Boris Johnson's trade deal with the European Union has won the backing of the Brexiteer backbenchers, who have said the agreement "preserves the UK's sovereignty".

    Scottish Secretary Alister Jack previously said: "We have secured a historic free trade deal with the EU that delivers for Scotland and the whole of the UK.

    "This is a deep and wide-ranging deal, covering trade, security, travel, transport, energy, health and social security."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    SCOTTISH LABOUR TO VOTE AGAINST GIVING CONSENT TO BREXIT TRADE DEAL

    Scottish Labour will oppose the Brexit deal in the Scottish Parliament when MSPs vote on whether to give consent to the trade agreement.

    The party's leader Richard Leonard said the deal agreed by the UK Government with the EU was "half-baked" and signalled Scottish Labour would vote against giving consent to the agreement.

    The SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Liberal Democrats are also expected to refuse consent to the Brexit trade deal in Wednesday's vote, meaning Holyrood is likely to withhold its approval.

    Mr Leonard said: "Boris Johnson promised more than a year ago that he would 'get Brexit done', and that his deal was 'oven ready' – yet his shambolic Government is racing to ratify its half-baked Brexit deal the day before the end of the transition period.

    "There is no co-production here; no engagement with industry, trade unions or devolved governments on the terms of this trade deal, and barely any parliamentary scrutiny let alone public participation.

    "It is our duty to stand up for Scotland in Parliament tomorrow.

    "But it is also our duty to protect Scottish businesses and jobs from the damage that this deal will do, and that means the SNP Government must distribute the £300 million of Barnett consequentials to businesses as soon as possible.

    "We cannot lose sight of the fact that our economy is still in the depths of another crisis that the SNP left Scotland unprepared for. It's time for a national plan for the Scottish economy."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    SENIOR BACKBENCH BREXITEER GIVES SUPPORT TO BREXIT DEAL

    A senior backbench Brexiteer has given his support to the Brexit deal reached by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

    Conservative MP Sir William Cash, chair of the European Scrutiny Committee, said the agreement "reaffirms the sovereignty of the United Kingdom".

    It comes ahead of MPs' return to Parliament on Wednesday in order to vote on the deal before it is considered in the House of Lords.

    On Twitter, Sir William wrote: "In early December last year the country was in paralysis. Now @BorisJohnson has got #Brexit done, as promised in the general election.

    "This agreement reaffirms the #sovereignty of the United Kingdom."

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    MARKETS SOAR ON FIRST TRADING DAY SINCE BREXIT DEAL

    A nearly-delivered Brexit deal put a spring in the step of previously worried traders, sending London's top index to its highest point since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic on Tuesday.

    In its first session since trading paused on Thursday, the FTSE 100 closed up 100.54 points to 6,602.65, a rise of 1.6%.

    It was below its daily peak of 6,676.6, which pushed the index to its highest point in around nine months.

    Investors were reacting to the post-Brexit trade deal, which was struck between London and Brussels on Christmas Eve.

    After four years of uncertainty, the deal made it a lot more clear what the UK's relationship with its closest neighbours is likely to look like in the years ahead

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    EU GOVERNMENTS APPROVE BREXIT TRADE DEAL SAYS GERMANEU PRESIDENCY

    European Union governments approved on Tuesday a trade deal regulating relations between the 27-nation bloc and Britain, paving the way for its provisional application from Jan 1, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.

    The deal, which preserves Britain's zero-tariff and zero-quota access to the EU's single market of 450 million consumers, was reached on Dec 24, 4-1/2 years after Britons voted by a slim margin in a referendum to leave the bloc.

    "I am pleased that all EU 27 have given approval. By joining forces, we have succeeded in preventing a chaotic turn of the year," Maas, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said on Twitter.

    The approval is a formality after a deal between London and the EU last week. It is needed for the provisional application of the trade agreement from next year, before it is ratified by the European Parliament by the end of February.

    The provisional trade deal is to be signed by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the chairman of EU leaders Charles Michel on Wednesday.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    COUNCIL OF EU SAYS IT HAS 'ADOPTED BY WRITTEN PROCEDURE' THE DECISION OF SIGNING UK-EU TRADE AGREEMENT

    The Council of the EU said it has "adopted by written procedure" the decision on the signing of the EU-UK trade agreement.

    Next year, the council said it will adopt the decision on the conclusion of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement "once the European Parliament has given its consent and once all procedures necessary for the entry into force have been completed".

    In a statement, they wrote: "The council has today adopted, by written procedure, the decision on the signing of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and its provisional application as of January 1 2021, pending the consent of the European Parliament and conclusion by the council decision next year.

    "The agreement will now be signed by the two parties on December 30 2020. European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will sign in Brussels on behalf of the European Union while Prime Minister Boris Johnson will sign in London on behalf of the United Kingdom.

    "After the formal signing, the decision adopted today on the signature and provisional application and the agreement itself will be published in the Official Journal of the EU in all languages and will be provisionally applied from January 1 2021."

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    JOINING FORCES TO APPROVE BREXIT DEAL

    German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has tweeted: "I am pleased that all EU 27 have given approval.

    "By joining forces, we have succeeded in preventing a chaotic turn of the year."

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    TIME IS SHORT

    British lawmakers will on vote on the deal on Wednesday.

    The vote comes less than 48 hours before transition arrangements between Britain and the EU expire.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    LIBERAL DEMOCRATS WILL ALSO VOTE AGAINST DEAL

    The Liberal Democrats have confirmed that they will vote against Boris Johnson's post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union.

    In a statement, the party described the Bill as "threadbare" and claimed it is "bad for jobs, business, security and our environment".

    A reasoned amendment to the Bill has also been lodged by the party which warns that the legislation does "not meet the undertakings given to the people of the UK by the Prime Minister".

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    DUP TO OPPOSE DEAL

    The DUP, which backed Brexit, has also said it will oppose the deal.

    The party said the reason why it wants to oppose the deal is that the Brexit divorce settlement imposes customs checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    LABOUR IS THE ONLY OPPOSITION PARTY THAT WILL SUPPORT THE DEAL

    Labour is alone among the opposition parties in saying it will support the deal – with the SNP and the Liberal Democrats having said they will vote against it.

    But Sir Keir Starmer faces a high-profile revolt over his decision to back the agreement.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    ERG BACKING WILL BE WELCOMED BY PM

    The backing of the ERG will be welcomed by the Prime Minister, who could have faced a rebellion on his backbenches without their support.

    However, if they had failed to back the deal, it would likely have still passed comfortably on Wednesday with Labour support.

    Boris Johnson has won the backing of Brexiteers for the trade dealCredit: PA:Press Association
  • Chiara Fiorillo

    EUROSCEPTIC MPS BACK BREXIT DEAL

    Senior Eurosceptic MPs within the Conservative Party have backed the post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.

    They said the agreement "preserves the UK's sovereignty".

    A self-styled "star chamber" of lawyers was assembled by the European Research Group (ERG) of Brexiteers to examine the 1,246-page text of the agreement.

    They said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon: "Our overall conclusion is that the Agreement preserves the UK's sovereignty as a matter of law and fully respects the norms of international sovereign-to-sovereign treaties."

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    HOW TO APPLY TO THE EU SETTLEMENT SCHEME

    If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after Brexit.

    People who started living in the UK by December 31, 2020 are eligible.

    If you have lived in the UK for less than five years, you could be granted pre-settled status; if you have lived in the UK for five years or more, you could get the settled status.

    The deadline for applying is June 30, 2021.

    To find out more and apply, click here.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    ONLY THREE DAYS TO GO

    With only three days to go until the UK officially leaves the EU, you might be wondering what you need to do to prepare.

    To help, the Government has launched a Brexit Checker, which gives people advice on which steps they need to take depending on their nationality, profession or location.

    To find out more, visit this website.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    BREXIT DEAL BRINGS RELIEF TO FRENCH FISHERMEN

    A French fisherman has said the Brexit deal has been a relief for him and his colleagues.

    Bruno Margolle, who heads a fishermen's cooperative in Boulogne-sur-Mer, told Reuters: "It's a relief. I'm not going to say otherwise.

    "We were strung up on the guillotine, waiting."

    For Margolle, whose trawler the Nicolas-Jeremy spends 200 days of the year chasing mackerel, whiting and squid through British waters, the big win was the right to keep fishing within the six to 12 mile band off Britain's coast.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    PRICE IS RIGHT

    Shoppers will not be hit by high food prices after Brexit with any hikes "very modest indeed", the chairman of Tesco has promised.

    John Allan described Boris Johnson's EU trade deal as a "good outcome" for consumers.

    The supermarket chief told the BBC it would "hardly be felt in terms of the prices that consumers are paying".

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    FINAL STEPS

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    DEAL TO BE SIGNED TOMORROW

    The UK-EU post-Brexit trade deal will be signed in Brussels on Wednesday by EU chiefs before being flown by an RAF plane to London for Boris Johnson to sign, Downing Street said.

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman said the international treaty would be signed by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel before being flown across the Channel.

    An RAF plane will transport the treaty, accompanied by UK and EU officials, and the document is expected to be signed by the Prime Minister in Downing Street on Wednesday afternoon.

  • Shayma Bakht

    KEIR FACES REVOLT OVER BREXIT

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is facing a high-profile revolt over his decision to back Boris Johnson's EU trade deal in this week's Commons vote.

    Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and ex-cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw are among the signatories to a statement calling on opposition parties not to support the "rotten" agreement.

    Sir Keir has said he will call on Labour MPs to support the "thin" post-Brexit free trade agreement, despite concerns that it will fail to protect many key economic sectors.

    He argued that the alternative of ending the Brexit transition period on December 31 without a deal in place would be even worse for the economy.

  • Shayma Bakht

    STOCKS SOAR AND BREXIT IS DESCRIBED AS A "BLESSING"

    AvaTrade analyst Naeem Aslam told AFP: "The Brexit deal is really a blessing… for the UK and for the FTSE 100 index.

    "There is no doubt that the FTSE 100 has been a laggard index and now is its time to shine."

    He says this as stocks surged upwards today and investors jumped into action over Britain's long-awaited Brexit deal with the EU.

    The FTSE 100 index shot up 2.2 percent in late morning deals – having last traded on Christmas Eve before the announcement that Britain and the EU finally struck a trade deal.

    The pound climbed against the dollar but steadied versus the euro.

     

  • Shayma Bakht

    UK SAYS DEAL IS 'GOOD' FOR FISHERIES INDUSTRY

    Reuters reports that a senior member of the UK negotiating team says the UK/EU trade agreements is a good deal for fisheries industry to rebuild itself.

    This comes as London stocks surged today with investors relieved over Britain's long-awaited Brexit deal with the EU.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    'FREEDOM IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT'

    Boris Johnson has said “freedom is what you make it” and that he hopes the public are now reassured as he promises to break free from EU rules after signing a Brexit deal.

    The trade deal was finally secured on Christmas Eve after four years of bitter wrangling between the UK and EU.

    More on the story here

    Boris Johnson holds a Brexit press conference after signing the dealCredit: Crown Copyright

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