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Johnson’s Brexit deal officially becomes UK law

Johnson’s Brexit deal officially becomes UK law

DPA
London
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit legislation was given royal assent on Thursday, paving the way for Britain to begin the formal withdrawal from the European Union on January 31.
The formal approval from Queen Elizabeth II followed final passage of the EU Withdrawal Bill through the British parliament late on Wednesday.
Johnson said the approval of the bill had pushed the country over the “Brexit finish line,” and would allow it to “move forwards as one United Kingdom.” “At times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we’ve done it,” Johnson said.
“Now we can put the rancour and division of the past three years behind us and focus on delivering a bright, exciting future - with better hospitals and schools, safer streets and opportunity spread to every corner of our country.”
The European Parliament’s constitutional committee also signed off the withdrawal agreement on Thursday ahead of the final vote by EU lawmakers set for January 29. But Scottish National Party lawmaker Ian Blackford told parliament on Thursday that the passage of Johnson’s bill had created a “constitutional crisis” for the United Kingdom.
Blackford said “something quite momentous has taken place” with royal assent for Johnson’s Brexit bill.
“This is absolutely unprecedented and [...] a constitutional crisis,” he said.
Johnson has vowed to negotiate new free-trade arrangements with Brussels by a December 31 deadline, ruling out any extension, but EU officials have dismissed his timetable as unrealistic. He has refused to rule out Britain leaving the bloc without a deal on future relations, after 47 years as a member of the bloc, if negotiations cannot be completed by the end of the year.
A majority of 52 percent of voters opted to leave the EU in a referendum in June 2016.