Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe in London
UK prime minister Boris Johnson hailed the agreement with the EU as a “comprehensive Canada-style free trade deal” that would provide certainty for businesses.
The new deal will preserve tariff and quota free EU-UK trade for goods and is the biggest bilateral trade deal signed by either country, covering trade worth around £660bn.
“We have taken back control of our laws and our destiny”, he said at a Downing Street press briefing. “From January 1 we are outside the customs union and outside the single market. British laws will be made solely by the British parliament, interpreted by UK judges sitting in UK courts and the jurisdiction of the EU court of justice will come to an end.”
However, Mr Johnson stressed that the UK would continue to work in harmony with the EU, adding: “This is a good deal for the whole of Europe, and for our friends and partners as well.”
Speaking directly to European leaders, the prime minister added: “We will be your friend, your ally, your supporter and indeed never let it be forgotten – your number one market.”
“This country will remain culturally, emotionally historically strategically, geologically attached to Europe”.
Mr Johnson argued that the UK would have a stable and prosperous relationship with the EU under the new deal. “Winning freedom is a fantastic thing…. But it is how we use it, how we make the most of it, that is what is going to matter in the months and years to come”, he said.
The prime minister said that both sides had compromised throughout the process in order to move talks forward, and thanked negotiators for their efforts in recent months.
In a separate press briefing on Thursday afternoon, Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president described the deal as “fair” and “balanced” and said that the EU would continue to cooperate with the UK in areas of mutual interest, for example in the fields of climate change, energy, security and transport. “Together we still achieve more than we do apart,” she said.
With the UK’s transition period set to end on December 31, British MPs have been told to expect to hold an emergency session of the Commons on December 30.