And Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute for Economic Affairs, said it was absolutely essential to be sure the mechanism for resolving disputes related to the level playing field was not tilted in Brussels’ favour. The ERG has reconvened its Star Chamber, which includes ERG deputy chairman David Jones MP, Sir Bill Cash MP, and Martin Howe QC, to consider the agreement line by line.
Meanwhile, ERG MPs are also wading through the 2,000-page document, with one telling Express.co.uk the only break from it they would take today would be for the Queen’s speech.
Mr Littlewood said: “I’m sure the ERG will want assurances on how independent the arbitration of any disputes will really be and to be confident that we have not substituted the European Court of Justice with some opaque, complex and bureaucratic monstrosity.
“Overall, it’s an impressive result – Lord Frost deserves a lot of credit for having stuck to red lines and delivered a deal just in time.
“It’s pretty much along the lines of the Canada deal which has been the PM’s goal from the start.”
However, he said: “The area in which we need to watch things like hawks is the resolution procedure for divergence in regulations – what the EU calls the ‘level playing field’.
“This must not become a basis for the UK being punished if it adopts smarter, lighter, wiser rules.
“For now though, the PM and his negotiating team deserve to toast this success over a socially distanced Xmas lunch.
“It went to the wire, but it always does.
“We can now look forward to 2021 being a much, much better year than 2020.
“But we can also approach the next decade as a whole with renewed confidence and optimism. A good way to end a grim year.”
A statement issued by Clwyd West MP Mr Jones, along with ERG chairman and Rayleigh and Wickford MP Mark Francois, on Wednesday in anticipation of a deal being struck said: “Given that the new agreement is also highly complex, the Star Chamber will scrutinise it in detail, to ensure that its provisions genuinely protect the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, after we exit the Transition Period at the end of this year.
“The Star Chamber, which will include some new members to replace those now in Government, will undertake its examination as expeditiously as possible, before providing its conclusions on the merits of the deal – which we will aim to make public before Parliament reconvenes.”
Parliament will need to ratify the deal before the end of the year.
The House of Lords will sit on December 30, Speaker Baron Fowler has confirmed.
Leaders from the EU27 will also need to sign off on the deal – although there is not enough time for the European Parliament to scrutinise the agreement.