Tory Brexiteers have announced their support for Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade deal with the EU as they said they had concluded it ‘preserves the UK’s sovereignty’.
The European Research Group of Conservative MPs had reserved its judgement on the UK’s agreement with Brussels while its ‘Star Chamber’ of legal experts pored over the detail.
But the ERG said in a statement issued this afternoon that it believes the deal ‘fully respects the norms of international sovereign-to-sovereign treaties’.
The group’s backing came as Mr Johnson prepares to crash the agreement through Parliament in a single day tomorrow.
The passage of the deal was already viewed as a formality because of the PM’s 80-seat majority and the fact Sir Keir Starmer has told Labour MPs they have to vote for it.
But the support of the ERG represents a significant win for Mr Johnson as he tries to finally put an end to the Conservative Party’s rows over Europe.
It came as it was revealed that an RAF plane will be deployed to fly the official trade treaty from Brussels to Number 10 tomorrow to make sure both sides sign it before the end of the transition period on December 31.
Boris Johnson will crash his Brexit trade deal with the EU through Parliament in a single day tomorrow
The ERG’s ‘Star Chamber’ of lawyers has been examining the contents of the trade deal since it was hammered out on Christmas Eve.
The group is expected to deliver its official verdict on the accord this afternoon ahead of it being rushed through Parliament tomorrow.
Despite some reported misgivings over elements of the package, it is thought the group will be broadly favourable in its assessment of what Mr Johnson has agreed.
The PM will enshrine his trade deal in law tomorrow when MPs and peers are recalled from their Christmas break for one day to debate and vote on the Future Relationship Bill.
The debate on the draft legislation in the House of Commons will be opened by Mr Johnson at 9.30am and will be closed by Michael Gove at 2.30pm when MPs will be asked to vote on it.
The Bill will then move to the House of Lords, with the debate starting at approximately 3pm.
The Government is hoping that peers will finish their scrutiny of the deal between 10pm and 11pm.
Once the draft legislation clears both houses, MPs and peers will face a short wait for the Bill to be given Royal Assent – the point at which it becomes law.
It is thought that could happen either very late tomorrow night or in the early hours of Thursday morning.
While MPs debate the deal, the official copy will be signed by Ursula von der Leyen before being flown by an RAF plane to London for Mr Johnson to sign
While the deal is debated in Parliament, the formal copy of the accord will be signed by Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, and Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, in Brussels before it is then flown by an RAF plane to London.
The official document will then be taken to 10 Downing Street, accompanied by UK and EU officials, for Mr Johnson to sign in the afternoon.
EU ambassadors have already given their provisional approval to the deal and assuming it clears Parliament, the new trading arrangements between Britain and the bloc will be in place in time for the end of the transition period at 11pm on December 31.