The withdrawal agreement bill has been given Royal Assent, meaning it has become law and the UK will officially leave the EU on January 31st, 2020.
Deputy speaker Nigel Evans read out in the House of Commons on Thursday: “I have to announce to the House in accordance with the Royal Assent Act 1967 that Her Majesty has signified her Royal Assent to the following act: European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020,” meaning the bill has officially been signed into law.
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The government’s bill implementing the withdrawal deal has passed through both Houses of Parliament, meaning the UK will finally be leaving the EU on January 31st, 2020.
On Wednesday evening, MPs in the House of Commons rejected the amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill proposed by the House of Lords.
The upper house could have continued to push for their amendments to be passed, but agreed to end the “ping-pong” phase of passing the legislation, given the Conservatives’ 87-seat working majority would result in the amendments being defeated at every vote.
In a brief comment after the bill passed, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Parliament has passed the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, meaning we will leave the EU on 31 January and move forwards as one United Kingdom.
“At times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we’ve done it.
“Now we can put the rancour and division of the past three years behind us and focus on delivering a bright, exciting future — with better hospitals and schools, safer streets and opportunity spread to every corner of our country.”
It has been 1,309 days since Britons voted to leave the European Union.
–What happens next?–
In the next few days, the bill will gain Royal Assent from The Queen, officially making it a law.
The European Parliament will meet on January 29th to debate the withdrawal agreement; however, that is expected to be a formality and the deal should be agreed that day.
Charles Michel, president of the European Council comprised of the EU-27 heads of government, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are expected to sign the document within the next few days. Prime Minister Johnson will also sign the document on behalf of the British government.
The UK will leave the EU as Mr Johnson pledged on January 31st.
The UK will then move into an 11-month transition period, where the country will remain subject to the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market rules, as well as the free movement regime, while London and Brussels thrash out a future trade deal. There can be no extension of the transition period, as that provision was ruled out in a clause of the withdrawal agreement bill. If there is no deal agreed by December 31st, 2020, the UK will simply trade with the EU on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms.
–Conservatives plan to “mobilise the full breadth of our new freedoms”–
Leaked plans for the narrative on Brexit Day seen by the Dail Mail reveal that Cabinet ministers will tell Britons that the nation can finally come together, saying: “We will mobilise the full breadth of our new freedoms – from encouraging technology and innovation, to signing new free trade deals around the world.
“As we maximise all the freedoms the British people voted to grasp, we must also work to heal divisions… and reunite our communities.”
Brexit Day will mark “the start of a new chapter in the history of our country, in which we come together and move forward united, unleashing the enormous potential of the British people”, the document said.