Verhofstadt moans deal ‘less ambitious than EU wanted’ – pleads for UK return to Brussels

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Today, the UK is celebrating after the Prime Minister has managed to secure a Brexit trade deal with the EU, days before the end of the transition period on December 31. Following news of the deal, MEP Guy Verhofstadt moaned the deal is “less ambitious than we wanted”.

Mr Verhofstadt tweeted: “Finally a historic and unprecedented deal in the interest of all is reached.

“While less ambitious than we wanted, through binding arbitration it fully preserves the single market.

“Thanks to Michel Barnier our Union came out of these negotiations more united and stronger.

“I hope future UK politicians will build on this partnership so we can regain the close relationship [the EU and UK] deserves.

“It will be a first step in the return of the UK into the European family.”

Announcing the deal, a Downing Street source said: “Deal is done.

“We have taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters.”

“The deal is fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK.

“We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that has ever been achieved with the EU.

“We have delivered this great deal for the entire United Kingdom in record time, and under extremely challenging conditions, which protects the integrity of our internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it.”

The Downing Street source added: “The deal also guarantees that we are no longer in the lunar pull of the EU, we are not bound by EU rules, there is no role for the European Court of Justice and all of our key red lines about returning sovereignty have been achieved. It means that we will have full political and economic independence on January 1 2021.

“A points-based immigration system will put us in full control of who enters the UK and free movement will end.

“We have delivered this great deal for the entire United Kingdom in record time, and under extremely challenging conditions, which protects the integrity of our internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it.

“We have got Brexit done and we can now take full advantage of the fantastic opportunities available to us as an independent trading nation, striking trade deals with other partners around the world.”

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney welcomed the deal and said there will not be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Mr Coveny also said Ireland’s place in the Single Market remains safe.

While many will be celebrating the Brexit deal, others have objected to the agreement.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon used the historic agreement to make a call for Scottish independence. 

She tweeted: “Before the spin starts, it’s worth remembering that Brexit is happening against Scotland’s will.

“And there is no deal that will ever make up for what Brexit takes away from us.

“It’s time to chart our own future as an independent, European nation.”

Ms Sturgeon’s were echoed by Ian Blackford, the SNP leader in Westminster.

Mr Blackford tweeted: “Scotland will be poorer from being out of the EU as we leave transition post today’s UK/EU deal.

“The UK is taking us out of the best deal possible that ends free movement, takes us out of the single market and customs union ending economic, social and cultural opportunities.”

Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts said: “It is clear is that this agreement is worlds away from what was promised to Wales, both in the 2016 referendum and the 2019 election.

“Wales was told that we would continue to have the exact same benefits, that we would not receive a penny less and that our farmers would be able to sell their produce to the rest of Europe as before.

“The Conservatives have broken their promises to Wales.

“This agreement will impose significant new costs and complex bureaucracy on Welsh businesses.

“It will threaten the futures of our young people and removes many of our rights as citizens.

“A free trade deal of this kind – ripping us out of the Single Market and Customs Union – is expected to lead to a 5.5% fall in Wales’s economic growth.

“That is not something to celebrate.”

More to follow…

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