Politics

Mixed reactions after UK and EU reach £668 billion trade deal


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t has come as no surprise that, much like Brexit itself, reaction to the UK and EU finally agreeing a new trade deal was split down the middle.

After much anticipation it was finally announced on Christmas Eve that a trade deal had been secured.

A Downing Street source insisted that “everything that the British public was promised during the 2016 referendum and in the general election last year is delivered by this deal”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted a picture of himself smiling with both thumbs lifted in the air. “The deal is done,” he wrote.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the news that a deal had been secured.

“Very welcome news that the UK & EU have reached agreement on the terms of a deal – one that provides confidence to business and helps keep trade flowing,” said Ms May on Twitter.  

But not everyone was as positive about the terms that have been agreed.  

Nicola Sturgeon said there was no deal that “could ever make up for what Brexit takes away from us”.

“Before the spin starts, it’s worth remembering that Brexit is happening against Scotland’s will,” wrote the First Minister.

“It’s time to chart our own future as an independent, European nation.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Scotland would be “poorer from being out of the EU”.  

He tweeted: “The UK is taking us out of the best deal possible that ends free movement, takes us out of the single market and customs union ending economic, social and cultural opportunities.”

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Wales’ First Minister also expressed disappointment at the terms that had been reached.

Mark Drakeford said on Twitter: “Any deal is better than no deal. We need to see the full details but this is not the deal we would have negotiated.  

“Welsh businesses will still face significant barriers to trade in 2021 and we will stand ready to help them.”

Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts said the deal gave “minimal stability” after so many years of wrangling.

“No-deal would have been calamitous for Wales, so news that agreement has been secured will be a relief to many,” she said.

“It is now vital that both sides use this agreement as a basis upon which to build a deep and sustainable partnership.

“Even outside the EU, Wales is a proud European nation that will always cherish our relationships with our neighbours across the continent.”

UK agrees a post-Brexit trade deal with EU

A Labour Party spokesman said: “Since the election, the Labour Party has urged the Government and the EU to secure a trade deal because that is in the national interest.

“We will be setting out our formal response to the deal in due course.”

Trade Secretary Liz Truss tweeted: “Great that we have secured a trade deal with the EU. Congrats to @DavidGHFrost and the UK team.

“We will have a strong trading relationship with the EU and deepen our trade with partners across the world through our independent trade policy.”

James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, expressed alarm at the “wave of new export checks” that would be introduced as a result of the deal.

He said: “A deal has emerged ridiculously late in the day and there is a huge amount of detail to assess. However, this will ensure we avoid crippling tariffs of up to 80% on some of our key food exports. That is good news.

“However, before ministers start popping champagne corks, they need to be alive to the danger of more disruption at our ports in just a few days’ time.

“The tariff threat is averted but we remain hugely concerned at the wave of new export checks about to be introduced. For months now we have been warning the UK Government of disruption and a lack of readiness.

“We have lost a transition period to a pandemic and it is only with a week to go that we now know what we are transitioning to.”

Mr Withers urged the UK Government to now seek a grace period on the introduction of new export checks on January 1.

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Ursula von der Leyen during a media briefing in Brussels

/ PA )

The Prime Minister said the £668 billion a year deal would protect jobs across the UK.

He told a Downing Street press conference: “We have taken back control of our laws and our destiny. We have taken back control of every jot and tittle of our regulation in a way that is complete and unfettered.

“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 British judges sitting in UK courts and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will come to an end.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the Prime Minister had successfully secured a deal that “takes back control over our laws, borders, money, fish & trade”.

“We have a zero-tariff, zero-quota deal with EU & friendly co-operation will continue,” he added.

“Time to unite, put Brexit divisions behind us & look to 2021 as a springboard for Global Britain.”

Former Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the referendum on leaving the European Union, also praised the efforts of the UK negotiating team.

He tweeted: “It’s good to end a difficult year with some positive news. Trade deal is very welcome – and a vital step in building a new relationship with the EU as friends, neighbours and partners.”



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