The new Brexit trade deal will allow Britain to become a “friendly neighbour, best friend and ally” to the European Union, Boris Johnson is set to say on Wednesday in the British Parliament.
He will deliver the remarks ahead of the second reading of the EU (Future Relationship) Bill, which will be debated and voted on by lawmakers in the House of Commons and unelected peers in the House of Lords before it is turned officially into law in Britain.
Johnson, who heavily campaigned for Britain to leave the EU in 2016 before becoming prime minister last year, is due to say that pro-Brexit lawmakers were not seeking “rupture” but a “resolution of the old and vexed question of Britain’s political relations with Europe.”
In the speech, an advanced copy of which was obtained by dpa, Johnson is expected to tell lawmakers: “First we stood aloof, then we became a half-hearted, sometimes obstructive member of the EU.
“Now, with this Bill, we shall be a friendly neighbour – the best friend and ally the EU could have – working hand-in-glove whenever our values and interests coincide while fulfilling the sovereign wish of the British people to live under their own laws, made by their own elected Parliament.
“That is the historic resolution delivered by this Bill.”
On Tuesday, the 27 EU states paved the way for the provisional application of the post-Brexit trade agreement as of January 1, the latest step in making the hard-fought pact official.
In a so-called written procedure, none of the EU ambassadors objected to applying the deal provisionally, making it possible for EU chiefs to sign the deal on Wednesday.
The provisional application of the last-minute deal is necessary because the European Parliament will still have to give the green light early next year.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel will sign the draft agreement on Wednesday at 9:30 am (0830 GMT).
The signed papers will then be flown to Britain by the Royal Armed Forces, where Johnson will give his signature.
Meanwhile, in London, an influential group of hardline Conservative Party Brexiteers gave the prime minister a shot of support by announcing they backed his deal with the EU.
The European Research Group published a statement on Tuesday stating the agreement “preserves the UK’s sovereignty as a matter of law and fully respects the norms of international sovereign-to-sovereign treaties”.
On Tuesday morning, Britain’s markets opened with a strong start, with shares on the FTSE 100 up 100 points to 6,600. They later closed at 6,602 points.
The early trading highs have not been seen since early March 2020.
Britain’s finances have taken a battering this year due to ongoing indecision over a Brexit trade deal, the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent fall into a recession following businesses being crippled by nationwide lockdowns.
A temporary border closure between France and Britain and ongoing uncertainty around the Brexit deal last week saw 33 billion pounds (44 billion dollars) wiped away from the FTSE 100 within minutes after opening.
But on December 24, Johnson and von der Leyen announced a trade deal between Britain and the EU had been reached a week ahead of Britain leaving the EU’s single market on January 1.