Great Britain

Historic moment Boris Johnson signs Brexit divorce treaty as he hails ‘new era of opportunity’ for Britain

BORIS Johnson today signed Britain's EU divorce deal officially bringing an end to the Brexit saga.

The Prime Minister proudly declared it a "fantastic moment" as he put pen to paper to seal the deal at Downing Street.

Mr Johnson added he hoped it "brings to an end to far too many years of argument and division" after the Withdrawal Agreement finally passed through parliament this week.

He said: "We can now move forward as one country – with a Government focused upon delivering better public services, greater opportunity and unleashing the potential of every corner of our brilliant United Kingdom, while building a strong new relationship with the EU as friends and sovereign equals."

The leaders of the EU's top two institutions also signed the papers today - almost in private - with no media allowed to witness the historic moment.

European Council President Charles Michel and Commission president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted photos of the signing in the presence of their Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Von der Leyen tweeted: "Charles Michel and I have just signed the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU, opening the way for its ratification by the European Parliament."

Michel added: "Things will inevitably change but our friendship will remain. We start a new chapter as partners and allies. I cant wait to write this new page together."

The huge Tory majority crushed a Lords rebellion on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, overturning five amendments in a Westminster battle known as ping-pong.

The Lords backed down at 6pm and agreed to wave the bill on to Royal Assent, making it law with eight days to go before Britain leaves the EU at 11pm next Friday.

It ends one of the most bitter sagas in British politics — a battle over the shape of the exit deal that has raged since Theresa May triggered Article 50 on March 29, 2017.

'FANTASTIC MOMENT'

The jubilant PM said it meant the nation could now “move forwards as one United Kingdom”.

He added: “At times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we’ve done it.

“Now we can put the rancour and division behind us and focus on delivering a bright, exciting future — with better hospitals and schools, safer streets and opportunity spread to every corner of our country.”

The Withdrawal Agreement still needs formal ratification from the European Parliament, in a vote set for next Wednesday.

But that is now seen as a formality.

Overturned measures included Lord Dubs’ bid to give child refugees the right of reunion with their parents in the UK and EU citizens in the UK post Brexit getting an ID document.

Almost four years after Brits voted for Brexit, the Withdrawal Agreement Bill formally became a law after the Queen gave it Royal Assent.

Boris Johnson was jubilant yesterday after the bill passed parliament, and the PM is set to hail freedom from the EU when the UK leaves on January 31.

After the bill is ratified by the Europeans, Mr Johnson will plough into trade talks with both the EU and the US.

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