British MPs on Wednesday voted to approve the UK–EU agreement on post-Brexit trade and cooperation, which is set to come into effect on Jan. 1 when the UK exits the EU’s single market and customs union at the end of the Brexit transition period.
The House of Commons approved the EU (Future Relationship) Bill by 521 votes to 73. The bill will now be debated and voted on in the House of Lords, whose support is also needed before it becomes law.
Before the Commons vote, Johnson urged Parliament to back the deal, saying it will resolve the “vexed question” of Britain’s relations with Europe.
Johnson hailed the deal as “one of the biggest free trade agreements in the world” that will “safeguard millions of jobs and livelihoods in our UK and across the continent.”
The central purpose of the bill, he said, is to enable the UK to “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.”
The main opposition Labour Party backed the deal despite finding it unsatisfactory.
The deal has also won support from the European Research Group (ERG), a group of staunchly pro-Brexit lawmakers in Johnson’s Conservative Party who see close ties to the EU as a threat to British sovereignty.
The group’s Legal Advisory Committee delivered its opinion on the deal on Tuesday, saying that “it is consistent the [sic] sovereignty of the United Kingdom.”