UK PM Boris Johnson has recalled the Parliament from its Christmas break to clear the Brexit free trade agreement (FTA) struck with the European Union through all parliamentary stages for the EU (Future Relationship) Bill to become law in time for January 1 next year.
The deal PM Johnson reached on December 24 with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was okayed by The European Research Group (ERG), which sees threats to British sovereignty from close ties to the European Union.
“UK's sovereignty as a matter of law and fully respects the norms of international sovereign-to-sovereign treaties,” the group's legal advisory committee said. The agreement could be terminated with 12 months notice if the norms were unacceptable.
Johnson called the bill, not "a rupture but a resolution" of the UK's relationship with the European Union and has called for all MPs to back it. "First we stood aloof, then we became a half-hearted, sometimes obstructive member of the EU. Now, with this bill, we shall be a friendly neighbour - the best friend and ally the EU could have - working hand-in-glove whenever our values and interests coincide while fulfilling the sovereign wish of the British people to live under their own laws, made by their own elected Parliament. That is the historic resolution delivered by this Bill," Johnson said.
European Council head Charles Michel said, the agreement, which runs to 1,259 pages, “is a fair and balanced agreement that fully protects the fundamental interests of the European Union and creates stability and predictability for citizens and companies”.
Businesses in the UK, despite the bill, will face new red tape and checks worth about GBP 7 billion when the transition period ends on December 31.
The opposition Labour Party has said it will make sure the deal would be passed into law, regardless of the support of Conservative lawmakers from the ERG, which has been a thorn in the side of May. It had blocked efforts of the Labour government under her to preserve closer economic ties with the EU.