Boris Johnson: New Relationship Between Britain And The EU As Sovereign Equals
Boris Johnson has urged MPs to "open a new chapter in our national story" by backing his post-Brexit trade deal with the EU in a Commons vote later.
Parliament has been recalled to put the deal into law, a day before the UK severs ties with the European Union. The PM said the deal would allow the UK to take "control of our laws and our national destiny".
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has ordered his MPs to back it, saying: "A thin deal is better than no deal." The agreement hammered out with Brussels over nine months sets out a new business and security relationship between the UK and its biggest trading partner.
The EU (Future Relationship) Bill - which puts it into UK law - is expected to receive the backing of Parliament, thanks to Mr Johnson's large Commons majority and the support of the Labour Party. In a speech opening five hours of Commons debate, Mr Johnson said the "central purpose of this bill is to accomplish something which the British people always knew in their hearts could be done".
This, he added, was that the country could "trade and cooperate with our European neighbours on the closest terms of friendship and goodwill, whilst retaining sovereign control of our laws and our national destiny".
Mr Johnson added that there was a "unifying thread" in the bill of wanting a "new relationship between Britain and the EU as sovereign equals, joined by friendship, commerce, history, interests and values, while respecting one another's freedom of action and recognising that we have nothing to fear if we sometimes choose to do things differently".
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel signed the international treaty ratifying the deal on Wednesday morning in Brussels.