Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke in the House of Commons on the deal agreed with the European Union, on 30 December 2020.
Transcript (from https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-ministers-opening-statement-to-the-house-of-commons-on-the-uk-eu-deal-30-december-2020 )
Thank you Mr Speaker, can I begin by thanking you and the House authorities and all your staff and their hard work in allowing us to meet today, and can I also welcome the outstanding news that AstraZeneca is now rolling out a new UK made vaccine approved by the MHRA that offers the hope to millions in this country and around the world, Mr Speaker I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time,
and having taken back control of our money, our borders, our laws and our waters by leaving the European Union on Jan 31st, we now seize the moment to forge a fantastic new relationship with our European neighbours, based on free trade and friendly co-operation.
And at the heart of this Bill is one of the biggest free trade agreements in the world, a comprehensive Canada-style deal, worth over £660 billion, which, if anything, should allow our companies to do even more business with our European friends, safeguarding millions of jobs and livelihoods in our UK and across the continent.
In less than 48 hours, we will leave the EU single market and the customs union, as we promised and yet British exporters will not face a sudden thicket of trade barriers, but rather, for the first time in the history of EU agreements, zero tariffs and zero quotas.
And just as we have avoided trade barriers, so we have also ensured the UK’s full control of our laws and our regulations and there is a vital symmetry between those two achievements, because the central purpose of this Bill is to accomplish something that the British people always knew in their hearts could be done, but which we were continually told was impossible, we were told we could not have our cake and eat it, do you remember how often we were told that Mr Speaker, namely that we could trade and cooperate with our European neighbours on the closest terms of friendship and goodwill, whilst retaining sovereign control of our laws and our national destiny.
And that unifying thread runs through every clause of this Bill, it embodies our vision – shared with our European neighbours – of a new relationship between Britain and the EU as sovereign equals, joined by friendship, commerce, history, interests and values, while respecting one another’s freedom of action and recognising that we have nothing to fear if we sometimes choose to do things differently and we have much to gain from the healthy stimulus of competition. And this Bill demonstrates therefore how Britain can be at once European and sovereign.
And I think you’ll agree Mr Speaker our negotiators accomplished their feat with astonishing speed. It took nearly 8 years for the Uruguay Round of world trade talks to produce a deal, and five years for the EU to reach a trade agreement with Canada, six for Japan.
We have done this in less than a year, in the teeth of a pandemic, and we have pressed ahead with this task, resisting all the calls for delay, Mr Speaker precisely because creating certainty about our future provides the best chance of beating Covid and bouncing back even more strongly next year. And that was our objective.