United Kingdom has 'crossed Brexit finish line', says Johnson

Elias Hubbard
January 24, 2020

Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen put their signatures to the document in Brussels after the Queen gave royal assent to the legislation implementing the agreement on Thursday.

Nevertheless, it was nonetheless an extremely symbolic moment, particularly in the aftermath of the past year's parliamentary paralysis which watched former Prime Minister Theresa May's deal differently rejected by MPs.

As the bill went through its final stages before becoming law, the House of Commons on Wednesday removed five amendments inserted into the Withdrawal Agreement Bill by the unelected upper chamber.

The January 31 split caps a remarkable political comeback for Johnson at one of the most hard points in Britain's post-war history.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is yet to sign the deal.

The Lords voted Tuesday to demand that post-Brexit Britain continues to let unaccompanied migrant children in European Union countries join relatives living in the UK.

That changed when Johnson's Conservatives won Britain's December 12 election, giving his government the ability to override the objections of opposition parties.

The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford accused the UK Government of using the legislation for a power grab, criticising the "gross disrespect from Boris Johnson and his Brexit fanboys that are in Number 10 Downing Street".

United States officials say they are eager to strike a deal with Johnson.

Mr Johnson is expected to set out details for a free trade agreement with Brussels along the lines of the EU's recent deal with Canada.

Britain and the European Union will then launch into negotiations on their future ties, racing to strike new relationships for trade, security and a host of other areas by the end of 2020.

The UK will officially leave the 27-member bloc at 11.00 GMT on 31 January - more than three and a half years after the country voted for Brexit in a referendum in June 2016.

Johnson insists he won't agree to any delays in those talks beyond the end of the year.

A deal "is an absolute priority for President (Donald) Trump and we expect to complete that with them this year", US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said ahead of his arrival in London this weekend.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross added that Johnson would have an easier time with Washington than Brussels because "there are far fewer issues between the United Kingdom and US".

But British opposition politicians are already raising concerns about issues ranging from food-safety standards - especially the US practice of chlorine-washing chicken to kill germs - to drug prices.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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