BREAKING NEWS: Brexit Deal Is Done As UK And EU Agree On Terms

 Boris Johnson today declared that a Brexit deal has been done after four years of desperate wrangling - with a furious propaganda war already underway.


The PM has made history by sealing future trade terms to avert a chaotic split when the transition period ends on January 1, after Lord Frost and Michel Barnier thrashed out a 2,000-page text.

Downing Street said the agreement was 'fantastic news' - with Mr Johnson now set to hold a press conference. 

A senior No10 source said: 'Everything that the British public was promised during the 2016 referendum and in the general election last year is delivered by this deal.

'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.'

Ursula von der Leyen told her own briefing in Brussels that the terms were 'balanced'. 'We have finally found an agreement. It was a long and winding road but we've got a good deal to show for it,' she said.

She said the EU had protected its single market, and achieved ‘five-and-a-half years of predictability for our fishing communities and strong tools to incentivise’ for access to continue afterwards. 

Ms von der Leyen said her overriding feeling was relief. 'Parting is such sweet sorrow,' she added.

Referencing one of his mantras from the talks, Mr Barnier said: 'The clock is no longer ticking.' 

No10 said the terms meant the UK will not be 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,' the source said. 

'It means that we will have full political and economic independence on 1st January 2021.' 

The confirmation had been repeatedly put back as the sides argue 'fish by fish' over the rules, with Ireland warning of a 'hitch', even though UK sources insisted there are 'no major issues'.  

But the battle to sell the package to voters and Tory MPs is in full swing, as Mr Johnson rings round restive backbenchers.

An internal government assessment insisted that the UK 'won' on 43 per cent of the major issues in the £660billion package, compared to 17 per cent where the EU came out on top. 

There will be zero-tariff, zero-quota access to the EU single market - and Mr Johnson has maintained the ability to diverge from Brussels standards, with no role for the European Court of Justice. 

The document boasts that concessions were secured on rules of origin for goods, customs streamlining and 'trusted trader' schemes, while the financial services sector has been 'insulated'.  

A deal will also avoid huge disruption on top of the coronavirus crisis. 

However, the UK looks to have given ground on fishing rights, and secured little succour for the services sector.

For its part, France has started boasting that Mr Johnson made 'huge concessions' on fishing in the last stages as the mutant coronavirus variant underlined the vulnerability of UK borders.     

The challenge the PM faces was underlined as Tory Brexiteers vowed to put together a 'Star Chamber' of experts to scrutinise the documents over Christmas.

MailOnline understands that Mr Johnson was 'very straightforward' and did not try to give a 'hard sell' in his call with senior MPs.

One MP said subject to seeing the full text the outline was 'what we hoped'. 'Maybe it will be a happier Christmas after all,' they suggested. 

Nigel Farage accused Mr Johnson of 'dropping the ball', although he also stressed that it was 'progress' and the Brexit 'war is over'. There are fears that political 'landmines' in the text will inevitably be uncovered. 

The FTSE 100 rose 20 points to 6,516 - 0.3 per cent - on opening amid optimism about a deal. The pound had already gained around 0.6 per cent against the dollar, and 0.4 per cent against the euro overnight.   

The UK insisted throughout that it would take back control of its coastal waters from the end of the transition period.

But the EU was demanding its fleets maintain previous levels of access - with Emmanuel Macron under particular pressure from the French fishing industry.   

Initially the UK said it wanted to reclaim 80 per cent of the EU quotas from January 1.

However, Brussels suggested that only 18 per cent should be restored.

The two sides are thought to have found a 'landing zone' that includes a figure between those and a transition period.

If reports are right that the UK is reclaiming just 25 per cent of the EU's fishing quota, phased in over five and a half years, that would look to be closer to the EU position.

However, Downing Street will insist that means the UK can be catching two thirds of fish in our waters by the year 2026.

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD 

The EU insisted the UK should commit to 'level playing field' provisions, guaranteeing that it will not undercut businesses with lower environmental standards and regulation.

State aid has emerged as a particular issue, especially as coronavirus makes swathes of the economy unviable. 

But the UK said it must regain sovereign powers to decide on rules, even though it has no plans to lower standards or warp competition by subsidising the private sector. 

It appeared this area was close to resolution, before France reportedly laid down a series of extra conditions including huge punishments for breaking the rules.

Although the UK is happy with 'non-regression' - meaning current standards are accepted as a baseline - it took issue with swingeing unilateral penalties and complained the proposals were 'asymmetrical' as the EU would be freer to prop up industries. 

The enforcement of any deal, and who decides whether rules are broken, has been one of the flashpoints from the start.

Breaking free of the European Court of Justice was among the biggest demands of Brexiteers from the referendum. 

But the EU was pushing to keep control of the governance, as well as insisting on tough fines and punitive tariffs for breaches.

The situation was inflamed by the row over the UK's Internal Market Bill, which gave ministers the power to override the previous Brexit divorce terms to prevent blockages between Britain and Northern Ireland.

The resolution of that spat is thought to have been critical in hammering out a wider trade deal. 

Hopes had been growing all yesterday after it was claimed the difference between Lord Frost and Mr Barnier had come down to fish worth the equivalent of a Premier League footballer's transfer fee.

But the final touches required more input from the political leadership of Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen. 

As the propaganda war gets underway, an internal UK government document laid out 65 key issues during the talks - and claimed that Lord Frost had won on 28 of them.

By contrast the EU was said to have come out on top in just 11. 

The remaining 26 were classified as 'mutual compromises' - including the critical area of fishing rights. 

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