The Labour peer, a longstanding critic of Britain’s decision to cut ties with Brussels, branded the Brexit deal the Trade Reduction Treaty and said he backed a cry to “get Brexit undone!” His exchanges with Tory Brexit minister Lord True came as Boris Johnson declared the UK’s destiny “now resides firmly in our hands” as his European Union trade deal cleared Parliament and entered into law.
The EU (Future Relationship) Act received the backing of the Commons and Lords as the Government rushed approval through both Houses in a single day.
It was announced that the legislation had been granted royal assent at 12.25am on this morning, signing the agreement finally reached between the UK and EU on Christmas Eve into law.
The Act paves the way for the deal to take effect at 11pm on tonight when the current Brexit transition period – during which the UK has continued to follow EU rules – ends.
The Prime Minister said: “I want to thank my fellow MPs and peers for passing this historic Bill and would like to express my gratitude to all of the staff here in Parliament and across Government who have made today possible.
“The destiny of this great country now resides firmly in our hands. We take on this duty with a sense of purpose and with the interests of the British public at the heart of everything we do.
“11pm on the 31st December marks a new beginning in our country’s history and a new relationship with the EU as their biggest ally. This moment is finally upon us and now is the time to seize it.”
MPs backed the Bill by 521 to 73 at third reading, while peers gave it an unopposed third reading late last night.
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7.30am update: Lord Lamont calls for ‘more harmonious relationship’ with EU
Former chancellor Lord Lamont has declared it “time to let the grass grow over the Brexit battlefield”.
The prominent Tory Brexiteer made the plea as Parliament backed Boris Johnson’s historic post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.
He said: “Historians may conclude that British membership of the EU was always doomed from the very start because the British view of the political destination of Europe was always different, although our establishment always tried to conceal this from the British public, particularly in the 1975 referendum.
“Nevertheless, the story of our membership has been one of endless arguments about further integration. From now on there will be no more British vetoes, no more British opt-outs, no more British triple locks.
“Now we can have a more harmonious relationship between two sovereign peoples.
“Far better to put the effort into addressing the international challenges that face us and also the domestic issues that cause so many of our fellow citizens to feel alienated and disillusioned, which is why they voted for Brexit.
“It’s time to let the grass grow over the Brexit battlefield. Let us all work to make this new partnership the success it ought to be.”