Brexit: Patel says there are 'no plans' for deadline extension
Prime Minister Johnson is expected to announce the historic deal at a press conference on the morning of Christmas eve. Brexit talks continued into the night on Wednesday evening as the UK and EU knuckled down to agree on a post-Brexit trade and security deal.
There was speculation the deal would be revealed on Wednesday evening after intense negotiations between Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen.
But the announcement has reportedly been pushed back to this morning as both sides undertook final details through the night.
According to Reuters, sources in London and Brussels said a deal was close on Wednesday night.
Yesterday Eric Mamer, spokesman for Ms von der Leyen, wrote on Twitter: “Work will continue throughout the night.”
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He suggested an announcement from the EU on the deal could come early today.
Mr Mamer said: “Grabbing some sleep is recommended to all Brexit-watchers at this point.
“It will hopefully be an early start tomorrow morning.”
One EU source told the Guardian: “The stars have aligned.”
Britain and the EU are believed to have made progress on resolving key issues including the “level playing field” measures and fishing rights.
The news of a deal announcements comes just days before the Brexit transition period is set to end on December 31.
On Wednesday evening, Mr Johnson chaired a virtual Cabinet in the late hours from Downing Street.
If a deal is announced today, MPs will be called to Westminster to vote on the agreement.
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Labour is expected not to oppose a deal after Sir Keir Starmer stressed that an agreement with the EU would be in Britain’s national interest.
Leaders on the EU side are expected to agree a “provisional application” of the post-Brexit deal from the start of January and MEPs will then vote to ratify the deal.
If a deal is announced, it will need to be backed by the EU’s 27 member states.
UK stocks rose on Wednesday and the pound increased against the US dollar and the euro.
The European Research Group (ERG) of pro-Brexit Tory MPs said they could scrutinise a deal in detail.
On Wednesday, the group issued a statement which said it would reconvene its “star chamber” of legal experts.
It said: “Given that the new agreement is also highly complex, the star chamber will scrutinise it in detail, to ensure that its provisions genuinely protect the sovereignty of the United Kingdom after we exit the transition period at the end of this year.”
The UK formally left the EU earlier this year on January 31 and has since been in a transition period.
Under this period rules on trade, travel and business remained unchanged while the two sides negotiated a deal.
But when Britain leaves transition period at the end of the year, it will be treated by Brussels as a third country.
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