MPs vote in favour of UK-EU Brexit trade deal ahead of New Year’s Eve deadline

"We were told we could not have our cake and eat it," Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs

Members of Parliament have voted overwhelmingly in support of Boris Johnson‘s Brexit trade deal.

The vote comes ahead of tomorrow night’s (December 31) deadline for the end of the Brexit transition period at 11pm GMT.

The House of Commons has backed Johnson’s agreement, which was struck by the Prime Minister and the European Union on Christmas Eve (December 24) following months of intense negotiation.

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The vote passed by 521 votes to 73, with a majority of 448.

The Brexit deal now heads to the House of Lords, and is expected to be confirmed in time for the 11pm deadline tomorrow night.

In a speech to MPs this afternoon, the Prime Minister said the deal allows the UK to take control of its “national destiny,” adding: “The central purpose of this bill is to accomplish something that the British people always knew in their hearts could be done but which we were continually told was impossible.

Boris Johnson
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. CREDIT: Toby Melville – WPA Pool / Getty Images

“We were told we could not have our cake and eat it… namely that we could 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.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, meanwhile, said he ordered his party to vote in favour of the deal, explaining: “When the default is no deal it’s not a mark of how pro-European you are to reject implementing this treaty.

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“It isn’t in the national interest to duck a question or to hide in the knowledge that others will save you from the consequences of your own vote.”

This week, a petition calling for the government to secure visa-free travel for artists and other creatives in the EU following the end of the Brexit transition period reached over 100,000 signatures.

Earlier this year, a number of artists and other industry insiders told NME of the widespread concern that new rules, tariffs and restrictions could further jeopardise the £5.2billion music industry when it is safe for live shows to return – and echoed earlier calls for a special Musicians’ Passport for touring artists and crew.

Responding to the industry’s concerns at the time, a government spokesperson told NME: “We are working closely with the arts and culture sector to prepare for the end of the transition period and recognise the importance of touring for UK musicians.”

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