Brexit trade deal agreed days before New Year deadline after late-ditch talks

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The UK has agreed a Christmas Eve Brexit deal for this afternoon, following late-ditch talks with the Cabinet and the EU.

The remaining hurdles that were proving a problem over the past few days have been cleared following intense discussion.

Both sides were haggling on overnight Wednesday and well into Thursday over final details concerning fish and electric cars.

The deal was secured just a week before current trading arrangements expire.

One French official claimed that Britain had made "huge concessions" in the past 48 hours, "mostly on fish", reports the Telegraph.

Boris Johnson will speak to the nation in press conference this afternoon, following talks with Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president.

She said: "We have finally found an agreement. It was a long and winding road, but we have got a good deal to show for it.

"It is fair, it is a balanced deal, and it is the right and responsible thing to do for both sides."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted a picture of himself smiling with both thumbs lifted in the air, writing: "The deal is done."

Guy Verhofstadt, who served as chief Brexit co-ordinator for the European Parliament, said: "Finally a historic & unprecedented deal in the interest of all is reached. While less ambitious than we wanted, through binding arbitration it fully preserves the single market.

"Thanks to @MichelBarnier our Union came out of these negotiations more united and stronger."

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The majority of the deal was finalised weeks ago, but three major points over fishing rights, level playing field and the deal's enforcement proved difficult.

The deal couldn't be completed until "everything was agreed".

A Downing Street source told the PA news agency: "The deal also guarantees that we are no longer in the lunar pull of the EU, we are not bound by EU rules, there is no role for the European Court of Justice and all of our key red lines about returning sovereignty have been achieved. It means that we will have full political and economic independence on January 1 2021.

"A points-based immigration system will put us in full control of who enters the UK and free movement will end.

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"We have delivered this great deal for the entire United Kingdom in record time, and under extremely challenging conditions, which protects the integrity of our internal market and Northern Ireland's place within it.

"We have got Brexit done and we can now take full advantage of the fantastic opportunities available to us as an independent trading nation, striking trade deals with other partners around the world."

European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer had suggested an announcement could come earlier today.

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"Work will continue throughout the night," he said shortly after midnight.

"Grabbing some sleep is recommended to all Brexit-watchers at this point. It will hopefully be an early start tomorrow morning…"

However, officials struggled to navigate stumbling blocks surround fishing in UK waters and talks dragged on well into the afternoon.

Camera crews were originally roped into 11 Downing Street this morning before being stood down as final details were hammered out.

  • Boris Johnson
  • Brexit

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