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Vote in bag

ERG backs Brexit deal as stocks at nine-month high

Boris Johnson

Just like that: Boris Johnson will secure his vote

Boris Johnson’s trade deal with the EU has received the backing of hardline Brexiteers, effectively ensuring he will secure Wednesday’s Commons vote.

Tory MPs in the self-styled European Research Group (ERG) said the 1,246-page document “preserves the UK’s sovereignty and fully respects the norms of international sovereign-to-sovereign treaties”.

On fisheries, the ERG said that at the end of the fishing transition period the UK “will have the legal right to take full control of its waters” and therefore the “question of practical sovereignty” is “dependent on the preparedness and robustness of the UK Government’s response at that time, which we are confident they will achieve”.

The ERG’s support was not required for the Prime Minister to win Wednesday’s vote, but it minimises the prospect of a rebellion on his back benches that could have made it more difficult.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer still faces a revolt of his own, with a group of MPs, including former shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, saying they will oppose the deal.

The SNP and the Liberal Democrats have both said they will vote against the deal, as has the DUP, which backed Brexit but is unhappy with customs checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

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Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross accused the SNP of really wanting No Deal in order to further their separatist ambitions. He said: “Yet again Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are putting their own narrow self-interest above those of our country.

“In doing so, they expose their rank hypocrisy. They have spent months loudly warning about no deal yet now they are going to vote for exactly that.

“They are willing to risk Scottish jobs and the economy for political posturing. It’s reckless and pathetic and Scotland deserves far better than that.”

MPs and peers will debate and vote on the 80-page EU (Future Relationship) Bill following five hours allocated for debate before it is enacted into law at 11pm on Thursday.

European Union governments later approved the deal, paving the way for its provisional application from 1 January of the trade agreement from next year, before it is ratified by the European Parliament by the end of February.

The provisional trade deal is to be signed by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the chairman of EU leaders Charles Michel on Wednesday and will be flown by an RAF plane to London for Mr Johnson’s signature.

Stock markets rose today as traders welcomed the greater certainty the deal provides and in the hope that the government can now revert to dealing with the Covid pandemic and clarifying new terms of trade with the EU.

The FTSE 100 closed 100.54 points (1.55%) higher at 6,602.65 after hitting an intra-day high of 6,676.60 in early trade, its highest since March. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.80%.

Oil also staged a recovery, partly on US stimulus hopes. Brent Crude was last trading at $51.41 per barrel, up 1.06% on the day.



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