EU agrees initial ratification of the Brexit trade agreement

 Ambassadors for the 27 EU states have unanimously agreed to ratify the Brexit trade agreement and that it can come into effect on an interim basis when the Brexit transition period expires at 11pm on Thursday night.

According to the Guardia website,

"At a meeting of ambassadors in Brussels, the 27 member states gave their support for the 1,246-page treaty to be “provisionally applied” at the end of the year. The decision will be formally completed by written procedure at 3pm central European time (1400 GMT) on Tuesday."

Final ratification will require the approval of the European parliament which will be sought in the first three months of the new year, probably in February or March.

It will also require the approval of the UK parliament, which will be sought on Wednesday. The signs are that Leave-supporting MPs are falling into line behind the deal. Because voting against it would be a vote for a "No Deal" Brexit, it is likely that Remain-supporting MPs will only vote against it if they are certain they're going to lose.

SNP Members of the Westminster parliament are likely to make that particular empty gesture, and the  Lib/Dem leader Sir Ed Davey suggested that his 11 MPs will abstain or vote against. However, it appears that most if not all Conservative MPs and the majority of Labour MPs will be backing the deal.

Sir Kier Starmer has put a whip on Labour MPs to back the trade agreement on the basis that it is preferable to "no deal." 

Although the possibility of some rebellions from opposite ends of the Brexit spectrum (e.g. hard-line Labour Remainers and hard-line Tory Brexiteers) cannot be ruled out, it would appear extremely unlikely that there will be enough Tory and Labour rebels to stop the deal getting through parliament.


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