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politico – UK parliament braces for fast-track Brexit deal – POLITICO

LONDON – After 10 months of tense negotiations with the EU on a post-Brexit trade deal, the ratification of the future deal on UK parliamentary relations will be a breeze for Boris Johnson.

UK lawmakers are expected to automatically approve the legislation enshrining the deal into law in a single day and without major last-minute controversy, after hardline Labor and Tory Brexiteers supporters declared their support for the draft. 80-page law on the European Union (future relations).

The bill, submitted to the UK parliament on Tuesday, is expected to make its way through the House of Commons and the House of Lords and receive royal assent by the end of Wednesday, a Downing Street spokesperson said. The British Prime Minister will open the second reading debate in the Commons at 9:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday. UK Cabinet Minister Michael Gove will deliver the closing speech ahead of MPs voting on the bill at 2:30 p.m.

In his opening speech, Johnson will announce the bill as proof of “how Britain can be both European and sovereign”, according to quotes put forward.

“Those of us who campaigned for Britain to leave the EU have never sought a break with our closest neighbors,” he is expected to say. “We would never wish to break away from other democracies beneath which are British war graves in quiet cemeteries, often tended by local schoolchildren, a testament to our common struggle for freedom and all that we cherish in common . What we were looking for was not a rupture but a resolution, a resolution of the old and thorny question of Britain’s political relations with Europe, which has troubled our post-war history.

The bill will arrive in the House of Lords around 3 p.m. A total of 145 peers are ready to speak at second reading in the House of Lords, each allowed to speak for approximately three minutes. The final Lords vote could take place until 11 p.m., with Royal Assent expected around midnight.

The latest good news for Johnson landed on Tuesday afternoon, when the Eurosceptic Conservatives’ European research group urged its members to vote in favor of Brexit legislation, following a star room meeting of his Brexiteer lawyers.

“Our overall conclusion is that the agreement preserves UK sovereignty as a matter of law and fully respects the standards of sovereign international treaties,” GRE said in a statement.

The group lamented that the Brexit deal’s so-called level playing field clauses, designed to ensure the UK does not undermine the EU’s single market by lowering standards, “go further than in comparable trade agreements, but their impact on the practical exercise of sovereignty is likely to be limited if dealt with by a strong government. “

The GRE, chaired by Tory MP Mark François, said it believes these clauses do not prevent the UK from changing its laws as it sees fit, on pain of retaliation, and the government can terminate the deal. with 12 months’ notice if it finds the EU’s countermeasures unacceptable.

Work faces internal rebellion

For Labor leader Keir Starmer, however, Wednesday’s vote tastes bittersweet. Starmer declared his party’s support for the deal last week before even reading the text, arguing that the choice was between a “thin” deal and a no-deal outcome, which he said would be even worse for the UK economy.

However, he now faces a high-profile rebellion over his decision, with former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and former ministers Clive Lewis and Ben Bradshaw among the signatories of a statement calling on opposition parties not to support the “rotten” deal.

“We are witnessing an act of vandalism against our livelihoods, our rights and our horizons,” the statement said. “We call on Labor, the Labor movement and other opposition parties not to support the Tories’ Brexit deal when it comes to a vote in the House of Commons.”

Ahead of the Commons debate, Labor Phantom Chancellor Anneliese Dodds urged the government to step up support for companies hardest hit by the new trade deals and speed up the recruitment and training of customs and civil servants. She also called for a “short” period of “regulatory forbearance” to help companies switch to the new rules.

“The fact that a catastrophic no-deal scenario has been averted means that many companies across the country are now breathing a sigh of relief. But the government’s irresponsible approach to the eleventh hour of negotiations means that there are many unanswered questions days before the end of the transition period, ”Dodds said. “After a year of unprecedented upheaval, this puts even more pressure on companies which are now facing a very uncertain start to the year.

Labor is the only opposition party supposed to support the deal. The Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and the Democratic Unionist Party have all said they will oppose it.

Ratification in the Westminster Parliament does not mean the end of the process, however, as the approval of the European Parliament is also required. Although MEPs are not expected to ratify the deal until March 2021, EU ambassadors on Monday unanimously approved its provisional application until February 28.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, will sign the future treaty on relations in Brussels on Wednesday, before it is flown to London in a Royal Air Force plane , accompanied by representatives of the EU and UK, and signed by Johnson at Downing Street in the afternoon.

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