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Follow the latest updates as Britain to sign deal with the EU

Dec 24, 2020

Lorry drivers clash with police in Dover
UK and EU negotiators are set to announce they have finally agreed a Brexit trade deal, just eight days before the transition period is due to end on 31 December.
Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen are believed to have reached an agreement on fishing and the level playing field after it was announced on Wednesday that talks were nearing an end. 
EU Commission spokesman Eric Mamer announced yesterday that talks would continue overnight.
Work will continue throughout the night. Grabbing some sleep is recommended to all Brexit-watchers at this point. It will hopefully be an early start tomorrow morning, he said late on Wednesday. 
It comes as reports emerge that Mr Johnson and Ms Von der Leyen had a slew of a late night, secret calls to get a deal over the line all of which is set to culminate in a deal being signed, sealed and delivered today, on Christmas Eve. 
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Johnson to make announcement later on Thursday, Coveney says
Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney has said a last minute hitch related to fishing delayed the Brexit trade deal but an announcement is expected later on Thursday.
Boris Johnson had been due to hold a news conference around now. That hasnt happened. So there is some sort of last-minute hitch related to small text of a fisheries agreement, Mr Coveney told Irelands RTE radio.
I had hoped to be talking to you this morning in parallel with big announcements happening in both London and Brussels, but we still expect those later on today.
Sam Hancock24 December 2020 08:32
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Government will get legislation over the line, says Labour MP
Labour MP and chair of the Commons Brexit Committee Hilary Benn said he has no doubt parliament will approve legislation for a deal if one is brokered before 31 January.
He told BBC Breakfast: The alternative is no-deal and that really doesn’t bear contemplation at all because of the damage it would do to the economy.
What any deal is going to do is to make the consequences of Brexit for business less bad than they would otherwise be.
Remember this is the first trade deal in history where one party has gone in knowing it will come out with worse arrangements than it went in with.
He added: I think not just over the next week but over the next few months, as Brexit actually happens… there are going to be big changes anyway from January 1 whether there is agreement or not and regardless of what’s in the agreement…
Over time we will become more aware of what we can’t now do because we’ve taken it for granted.
Sam Hancock24 December 2020 08:27
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PM to announce deal, reports suggest
Sam Hancock24 December 2020 08:24
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Negotiations continued throughout the night
European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said on Wednesday talks on a post-Brexit trade deal would continue overnight.
He said: Work will continue throughout the night. Grabbing some sleep is recommended to all Brexit-watchers at this point.
It will hopefully be an early start tomorrow morning…
Sam Hancock24 December 2020 08:22
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Hello, and welcome to The Independents rolling coverage of the Brexit negotiations. 
Sam Hancock24 December 2020 08:07