UK headed for January 31 Brexit as legislation given royal assent

The Queen has given royal assent to the legislation for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, paving the way for the UK to leave the EU with an agreement at the end of January.

The Prime Minister hailed the crossing of the “Brexit finish line”, despite the months of further negotiations which will be needed with Brussels to agree a trade deal.

He called for the “rancour and division” to be left behind over the UK’s departure from the European Union on January 31.

But there was little sign of reconciliation in the Commons as the announcement that the legislation had been given royal assent was made by deputy speaker Nigel Evans.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford was immediately on his feet, denouncing the “constitutional crisis” caused because the devolved administrations – including the Scottish Parliament – had not given consent to the deal.

“Our Parliament has been ignored, our Government has been ignored,” he said.

The legislation cleared Parliament on Wednesday after peers, who had tried to secure additional rights including for unaccompanied child refugees, bowed to the will of MPs after the elected chamber overturned their demands.

The Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU will now by signed by Mr Johnson, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel.

It still needs to be approved by the European Parliament before Brexit day, with a vote expected on January 29.

The Prime Minister said the nation would “move forwards as one United Kingdom”, adding: “At times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we’ve done it.

“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.”

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