Boris Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement Bill passes its final stage in the Commons: Brexit News for Friday 10 January

Boris Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement Bill passes its final stage in the Commons: Brexit News for Friday 10 January
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Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill passes its final stage in the Commons…

Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill has passed its final stage in the House of Commons in what marks a historic moment for Britain’s relationship with Europe. The WAB, which passed by 330 votes to 231, will now go to the House of Lords, where peers have been told to listen to the will of the country and back the legislation. Downing Street urged the unelected House to take heed of the December general election result which delivered Mr Johnson’s 80-seat Commons majority. “The country did deliver a very clear message that they want Brexit to be resolved,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said. – Telegraph (£)

  • MPs approve Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal as Withdrawal Agreement Bill clears Commons – ITV News

> On BrexitCentral today: Withdrawal Agreement Bill clears final Commons hurdle as MPs give it a Third Reading with a 99 majority – how every MP voted

> WATCH: Highlights from the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill Third Reading

…as the House of Lords is warned not to derail Johnson’s Brexit Bill

Peers have been told to listen to the will of the country and back legislation paving the way for the UK to leave the European Union on January 31. Boris Johnson’s European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill is expected to clear the Commons on Thursday after the Tory general election victory gave the Prime Minister the comfortable majority he desired. But the legislation will then head to the upper chamber, where there is no Government majority and where peers repeatedly dealt blows to Theresa May’s administration. Downing Street urged the unelected House to take heed of the December general election result which delivered Mr Johnson’s 80-seat Commons majority. – ITV News

UK ‘committed’ to maintaining Erasmus+ exchange scheme post-Brexit

The government has said it is committed to maintaining the UK’s membership of the Erasmus+ programme, which funds opportunities for young people to train and study across Europe, despite shooting down an attempt to make its membership a priority in EU withdrawal negotiations. A Liberal Democrat-backed amendment to the withdrawal agreement bill, requiring the government to seek continued participation in Erasmus+, was defeated by Conservative MPs, raising fears that the UK could abruptly withdraw from the programme. Supporters of the Erasmus exchange, which each year involves thousands of British students travelling to more than 30 countries, including non-EU members such as Switzerland, defended it on social media. – Guardian

Boris Johnson’s Brexit timetable does not give enough time for full trade agreement, claims Michel Barnier

Boris Johnson’s Brexit timetable does not give enough time to negotiate a full trade deal between the EU and the UK, Michel Barnier has said. Speaking in Stockholm on Thursday, the EU’s chief negotiator said it would take longer than the 11-month transition period to negotiate a comprehensive relationship. Instead, Mr Barnier said Brussels will “prioritise” and try to secure a “basic agreement” with the UK – with the EU’s red lines being trade in goods, regulatory alignment, and fishing. “If we want to agree on each and every point of this political declaration – which would lead to an unprecedented relationship – it will take more than 11 months,” he said. – Independent

  • Barnier sticks to firm line on Brexit talks – FT (£)

EU warns refusal to give access to UK fishing waters after Brexit could lead to new cod war

Failure to grant the European Union access to British fishing waters after Brexit could lead to an outbreak of cod war style hostilities, the EU has warned. Brussels is demanding continued access to British waters as a condition of the trade deal but Boris Johnson has warned the European Commission that Britain will take back control of its waters once Britain leaves the EU. “We want to avoid any fisheries skirmishes in the Atlantic. We have seen them before we don’t want to see them again,” Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at a press conference with Charles Michel, the European Council president in Zagreb. Icelandic gunboats forced British fishermen out of their waters during the cod wars in the 1970s. More recently French fishermen fired flares and threw rocks at British boats during a dispute over scallops in the Channel. – Telegraph (£)

Chlorinated chicken ‘will not be imported into the UK’ after Brexit, says Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers

Chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef will not be imported into the UK after Brexit, the Defra Secretary has confirmed. Theresa Villiers told the BBC the current EU ban on the two controversial methods of food production will pass into UK legislation. Stringent EU rules currently limit numerous pesticides, veterinary drugs like growth hormones, and pathogen reduction treatments such as chlorine washing, that are allowed under US agriculture rules. UK farm groups have consistently warned that granting lower-standard food imports would effectively undercut domestic produce made to higher standards. – Farming UK

MPs call on the Government to mark Brexit with specially brewed Brexit beers, union flags and a Big Ben bong

MPs have called on the Government to commemorate the day the UK leaves the EU with specially brewed Brexit beers, union flags and a special chime from Big Ben. Kate Griffiths, the Tory MP for Burton, was the first to call on Steve Barclay as he took questions in the House of Commons to mark leaving the EU with breweries creating a “celebratory beer”. In response to whether the Brexit Secretary agreed that “to mark us leaving the European Union our fantastic local breweries in Burton on Trent should brew a celebratory brexit beer?” Mr Barclay said Ms Griffiths had struck an “extremely positive note”. – Telegraph (£)

Sterling to rise this year on hopes for a smooth Brexit

Britain’s pound will gain more than 3% against the dollar this year, supported by interest rate differentials and hopes for a smooth departure from the European Union, a Reuters poll found on Friday. Sterling GBP has gyrated wildly on any snippet of news about Brexit, largely ignoring economic data, and soared more than 2% after Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a resounding election victory in December, leading markets to believe an orderly exit from the EU was all but certain. It has since dropped back and was trading around $1.30 on Thursday as Johnson has signaled he plans to take a hard line in talks with the EU, raising fears about the prospect of a new cliff edge at the end of the year if no deal is reached. – Reuters

Madeline Grant: Why Britain needs the Brexit Spartans of the ERG now more than ever

At the end of this month, Britain will leave the EU after nearly four years of anti-democratic sabotage. Fireworks will be launched and long-owned bottles eagerly uncorked. The perennial gaggle of “Stop Brexit” activists outside Parliament may even have to find a new hobby.  Yet a battle is looming for the soul of the Tory party, and the nature and purpose of our EU departure. Tempting as it may be for Brexiteers, wearied by this exhausting national row, to think “job done”, to do so risks abandoning the free market roots of conservative euroscepticism. Mrs Thatcher planted the seed in her famous Bruges speech, three decades ago. A cautious EU supporter at the time, she criticised the centralising, socialist direction of the European Project under Jacques Delors, insisting that “Europe never would have prospered and never will prosper as a narrow-minded, inward-looking club.’’ – Madeline Grant for the Telegraph (£)

Andrew Boff: How Croatia’s control of the EU presidency could derail Britain’s negotiations

With Brexit now certain to happen at the end of the month, the UK is preparing for the negotiations to move onto the future relationship. Indeed, Boris Johnson hosted the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in Downing Street this week, kicking off a race against time to secure a free trade deal. With this short timeframe, the last thing we need is the prospect of a major disruption – but Croatia’s new presidency of the European Union, which began on the first of this month, could pose exactly that risk. Croatia’s presidency of the Council of the EU, its first since joining the EU in 2013, will last until 30 June 2020. It will also be crucial to the success or failure of Brexit negotiations, which is among Croatia’s top priorities during its presidency. – Andrew Boff AM for ConservativeHome

Brexit in Brief

  • Labour won in Hull because ‘I split Brexit vote’ admits Brexit Party candidate Michelle Dewberry – Sky News