LONDON (AP) — On the eve of the U.K.’s seismic economic split from the European Union, British lawmakers were being asked to turn a 1,200-page trade agreement with the bloc into law in a single day on Wednesday.
Just after the EU’s top officials formally signed the hard-won agreement in Brussels, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged legislators in the House of Commons to back a deal that he said heralded “a new relationship between Britain and the EU as sovereign equals.”
The U.K. left the EU almost a year ago, but remained within the bloc’s economic embrace during a transition period that ends at midnight Brussels time — 11 p.m. in London — on Thursday.
The deal will then enter into force, if Britain’s Parliament has approved it. The European Parliament also must sign off on the agreement, but is not expected to do so for several weeks.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel signed the agreement during a brief ceremony in Brussels on Wednesday morning. The documents were then being flown by Royal Air Force plane to London for Johnson to add his signature.