Brexit news latest – First lorries reach France and Northern Ireland under new trade deal as Macron slams UK for 'lies'

THE first freight to leave post-Brexit Britain has arrived in Northern Ireland and France as part of a historic new trade deal after the UK left the EU yesterday.

The first lorries were seen rolling off the Eurotunnel as the expected scenes of chaos didn't materialise today – with the freight reaching their destinations without hiccup or deal.

In a message on New Year's Eve, and hours before the end of the Brexit Transition period, the PM hailed the freedom of "Brexit Day".

"This is an amazing moment for this country. We have our freedom in our hands and it is up to us to make the most of it," he proclaimed.

Britain will be an “open, generous, outward-looking, internationalist and free trading global” country again – and he vowed: “2021 is the year we can do it.”

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said December 31 is a "moment to celebrate 2021 as an independent United Kingdom".

Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon asked the EU to "keep the light on" for Scotland – vowing the nation would "be back" to do business.

Follow all the latest news and reaction to the end of the transition period in our live blog below…

  • Joseph Gamp

    ERG SAYS BREXITEERS DIDN’T WANT IRISH BORDER

    David Jones, deputy chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), which is made up of Eurosceptic Tory MPs, said the customs barrier between Northern Ireland and the UK had not been something Brexiteers had wanted.

    Asked whether he had expected Britain’s exit from the European Union to lead to a “de facto border down the Irish Sea”, the former minister told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: “Certainly not. It was not what we expected and it is something that the European Research Group has always expressed concern about.

    “Sadly, however, that is what has been agreed with the European Union and, of course, we are going to have to find a way to work through this problem.

    “But absolutely not, a border in the Irish Sea was something that we did not expect, nor did we approve of.”

    He added: “It is a customs barrier which operates in one direction from GB to Northern Ireland – the other way round is not affected, at least not anywhere near to the same degree.

  • Joseph Gamp

    GRAPHIC: HOW THE POST-BREXIT TRADE BILL WAS VOTED ON

  • Joseph Gamp

    'SCOTLAND WILL BE BACK SOON, EUROPE' – STURGEON

    Nicola Sturgeon has said Europe should "keep a light on" as Scotland will be "back soon".

    The First Minister tweeted just after the Brexit transition period formally ended at 11pm on December 31.

    Scotland's trading and travel relationships with EU countries will now be governed by the agreement announced by the UK Government on Christmas Eve.

    Ms Sturgeon reiterated the SNP's call for an independent Scotland to join the EU.

    Tweeting a picture of the words Europe and Scotland attached by a loveheart, she said: "Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on."

  • Joseph Gamp

    TIMELINE: THE STORY OF BREXIT – FROM THEN TIL NOW

  • Jon Rogers

    WARNING BUSINESSES TO FACE SANCTIONS FOR FLOUTING POST-BREXIT CUSTOMS RULES

    Businesses that fail to adhere to new post-Brexit customs rules will be penalised by Revenue, it has been warned.

    Friday saw the first ferries arrive in Ireland from Britain under new trade rules following the end of the Brexit transition period.

    But despite pleas from hauliers, there will be no light-touch implementation of the new regulations.

    Tom Talbot, head of customs operations in Dublin Port, said Revenue will sanction those who flout the rules.

    Speaking on Friday, he said: "Do not be tempted to skip the customs facilities and go through the port.

    "Revenue are there, we will know who has left the port without calling to customs as required. We will follow it up. Where necessary, in due course, it will be followed up with sanctions. Please heed that message."

  • Jon Rogers

    BREXIT CHECKS BEGIN ON GOODS ARRIVING INTO NI FROM UK

    The first freight checks required under the terms of Brexit's economic sea border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland have taken place.

    The end of the transition period late on New Year's Eve brought into force the contentious Northern Ireland Protocol, which sees the region operate under different regulatory and customs arrangements to the rest of the UK.

    Northern Ireland is remaining in the single market for goods and is applying EU customs rules at its ports.

    Customs declarations and additional regulatory checks are now required on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. Trade in the other direction remains largely unfettered.

    The full consequences of the protocol will not be felt until later in the year, as several grace periods have been agreed between the UK and EU to reduce the volume of paperwork and certifications needed in the first few months of operation.

  • Jon Rogers

    JOHNSON PROMISES TO 'TURBOCHARGE' UK OUTSIDE THE EU

    Leaving the European Union's trading arrangements offers the chance to "transform our country", Boris Johnson claimed as UK businesses adjusted to the new bureaucracy.

    There was little sign of disruption at the border as freight travelled to France and Ireland on a quiet bank holiday after the new arrangements came in at 11pm on New Year's Eve.

    The Prime Minister said leaving the single market and customs union meant the UK has "taken back control of our money, our laws and our waters".

    Lower trade volumes on the New Year's Day bank holiday meant there was little disruption from the additional red tape that now applies on exports to the EU.

  • Jon Rogers

    FRANCE TO BE 'VIGILANT' ON BREXIT IMPLEMENTATION

    France will be vigilant over the implementation of a post Brexit trade deal reached last week between Britain and the European Union, French European Affairs minister Clement Beaune said on Friday.

    "This deal begins its life today. It will last years, possibly decades. Our demand is that each party respect its commitments," Beaune told a news conference held in the port of Calais, hours after Britain's final exit from the EU's orbit.

    "This deal must be very strictly respected and it must also contribute to develop our cooperation with Britain in all sectors, including fisheries," he added.

    The transition period for Britain's exit from the EU ended on Thursday night.

  • Jon Rogers

    UK ABOLISHES 'TAMPON TAX' AFTER BREXIT

    Britain abolished the so-called tampon tax on Friday, eliminating sales taxes on women's sanitary products.

    The move was widely praised by women's rights campaigners as well as proponents of the country's departure from the European Union.

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak had committed to ending the widely unpopular tax on tampons and pads in his budget statement in March but the change could only come into effect on Friday after Britain had finally left the economic orbit of the EU.

    EU law had prevented member states from reducing the rate of value-added tax below 5 per cent, meaning the period products were treated as luxury items and not essentials.

    "Sanitary products are essential so it's right that we do not charge VAT," said Sunak. "We have already rolled out free sanitary products in schools, colleges and hospitals and this commitment takes us another step closer to making them available and affordable for all women."

  • Jon Rogers

    BREXITEERS DIDN'T WANT IRISH BORDER – SAYS ERG

    David Jones, deputy chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), which is made up of Eurosceptic Tory MPs, said the customs barrier between Northern Ireland and the UK had not been something Brexiteers had wanted.

    Asked whether he had expected Britain's exit from the European Union to lead to a "de facto border down the Irish Sea", the former minister told BBC Radio 4's World At One: "Certainly not. It was not what we expected and it is something that the European Research Group has always expressed concern about.

    "Sadly, however, that is what has been agreed with the European Union and, of course, we are going to have to find a way to work through this problem.

    "But absolutely not, a border in the Irish Sea was something that we did not expect, nor did we approve of."

    He added: "It is a customs barrier which operates in one direction from GB to Northern Ireland – the other way round is not affected, at least not anywhere near to the same degree.

  • Jon Rogers

    'UK HAS TAKEN BACK CONTROL' – JOHNSON

    The UK has begun a new future outside the European Union's trading structures, with Boris Johnson saying it offers the chance to "transform our country".

    There will be disruption as a result of the increased bureaucracy between the UK and its largest trading partner, but there was little sign of the chaos some had feared on January 1.

    And the Prime Minister said the UK has "taken back control of our money, our laws and our waters" after the Brexit transition period with the European Union came to an end at 11pm on December 31.

    Johnson said the decision to leave the single market and customs union ended a "47-year experiment" of European Union membership.

    He said the EU had provided the UK with a "safe European home" during the 1970s, but the country has now "changed out of all recognition" with global perspectives.

    The UK is "free to do things differently, and if necessary better, than our friends in the EU" in 2021, he said in a video message to mark New Year.

  • Jon Rogers

    TRUCKS CROSS BORDER AFTER BREXIT

    Trucks rolled off ferries and trains on both sides of the English Channel on Friday, a quiet New Years Day after Britain finally left the EU.

    The busy goods route between southeast England and northwest France is on the front line of changes now that the UK has fully left the bloc.

    "For the majority of trucks, they wont even notice the difference," said John Keefe, spokesman for Eurotunnel, which transports vehicles under the Channel.

    "There was always the risk that if this happened at a busy time then we could run into some difficulties, but it's happening overnight on a bank holiday and a long weekend."

    A new UK-EU trade deal will bring restrictions and red tape, but for British Brexit supporters, it means reclaiming national independence from the EU and its web of rules.

  • Jon Rogers

    'SCOTLAND WILL BE BACK SOON, EUROPE' – STURGEON

    Nicola Sturgeon has said Europe should "keep a light on" as Scotland will be "back soon".

    The First Minister tweeted just after the Brexit transition period formally ended at 11pm on December 31.

    Scotland's trading and travel relationships with EU countries will now be governed by the agreement announced by the UK Government on Christmas Eve.

    Ms Sturgeon reiterated the SNP's call for an independent Scotland to join the EU.

    Tweeting a picture of the words Europe and Scotland attached by a loveheart, she said: "Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on."

  • Joseph Gamp

    IRISH HAULIERS WARN OF 'MAYHEM' AT PORTS AS UK OFFICIALLY LEAVES EU

    Irish hauliers have warned of "mayhem" at ports after the UK formally left the EU.

    After 48 years as a member of the European Union, the UK left the bloc at 11pm on New Year's Eve, becoming a third country for trade purposes and customs declarations.

    New documentation and red tape is now required between EU member states and Britain, which is anticipated to cause massive delays at ports.

    While a small number of ships were arriving on Thursday evening, they were expected to be covered by the previous arrangements.

    The first boats to face the additional requirements are expected to arrive early on New Year's Day.

  • Joseph Gamp

    SIMON COVENEY SAYS BREXIT IS 'FOR ME NOT SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE'

    Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said: "UK relationship with EU & IRE will be different from now on, after #Brexit Transition.

    "For me it's not something to celebrate, but we have an agreed basis for future relations & will now focus on building a strong new relationship with our closest neighbour.

    "We wish them well!"

  • Joseph Gamp

    PM: THE STATE WILL NEED TO LEAD BY INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that in the post-COVID-19 future the state would need to lead by investing in infrastructure, education and technology, the Daily Telegraph reported.

    "Sometimes we will need to regulate differently or better, and that may mean taking advantage of Brexits freedoms; and we will also need the state to lead, to make the investments in infrastructure, education and technology that will create the framework for business to invest," Johnson wrote in the newspaper

  • Joseph Gamp

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Here’s to 2021…

    To all readers of The Sun – stay safe and be kind to one another!

  • Joseph Gamp

    FIRST LORRY PASSES THROUGH CONTROLS AT EUROTUNNEL AFTER UK LEAVES SINGLE MARKET

    The first lorry has gone through controls at the Eurotunnel as it heads for Europe, following the UK's historic departure from the single market.

    Driver Slavi Ivanov Shumeykov smiled and waved as his HGV was processed by officials late on New Year's Eve.

    His Eddie Stobart vehicle went through Eurotunnel controls in Folkestone, Kent just after 11pm.

    Scenes in Dover have been quiet as many hauliers have been staying away to avoid being the first to test new border controls.

    There had been fears of disruption in Kent as the UK counted down to 11pm and the end of the Brexit transition period, following chaos on the roads last week.

  • Joseph Gamp

    NIGEL FARAGE SAYS 'TIME TO RAISE A GLASS' TO BREXIT

    Prominent Brexiteer Nigel Farage tweeted: "This is a big moment for our country, a giant leap forward.

    "Time to raise a glass. #BrexitAtLast."

  • Joseph Gamp

    STURGEON TELLS EU: 'SCOTLAND WILL BE BACK SOON'

    Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland will be "back soon, Europe" as the Brexit transition period ended.

    She tweeted: "Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on."

     

  • Joseph Gamp

    DAVID FROST POINTS TO 'GREAT FUTURE' AS TRANSITION COMES TO AN END

    The UK's chief Brexit negotiator Lord (David) Frost has said "we have a great future before us" as the transition period with the EU came to an end.

    He tweeted: "Britain has just become a fully independent country again – deciding our own affairs for ourselves.

    "Thank you to everyone who worked with me (and) @BorisJohnson to get us here in the last 18 months.

    "We have a great future before us. Now we can build a better country for us all."

  • Joseph Gamp

    NI ENJOYS 'SPECIAL STATUS' AS BREXIT TRANSITION ENDS

    Northern Ireland enjoys a special relationship with Europe after the Brexit transition period ended.

    It remains in the EU single market for goods.

    It will also apply the bloc's customs rules at its ports, even though the region is still part of the UK customs territory, to prevent the return of a hard border with the Irish Republic.

    To avoid disrupting cross-border trade and a return of checkpoints along the politically sensitive Irish border, the EU and UK agreed to move new regulatory and customs processes to the Irish Sea.

    That means checks are focused on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  • Joseph Gamp

    THE TRANSITION PERIOD IS OVER – THE UK GOES IT ALONE FROM EU

    The UK has now officially left the transition period- meaning it is no longer part of the EU's orbit.

    We formally left the EU at 11pm on today after 48 years of bloc membership and we will become a third country for trade purposes and customs declarations.

  • Joseph Gamp

    LORD ADONIS FACES BACKLASH OVER MUNICH AGREEMENT COMPARISON

    Remainer Peer Lord Adonis faced a backlash for comparing it with the Munich Agreement from 1938 – seen as a capitulaiton to the Nazi dictator.

    He said in the House of Lords yesterday: "I will therefore begin by saying what everybody would like to ignore or forget, but which must be stated, that ''we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat''.

    "Those were Winston Churchill's words in the House of Commons on the Munich agreement 82 years ago.

    "Alas, they apply word for word to the Brexit agreement we are being asked to rubber-stamp today."

    But Brexiteers hit back, and Tory MP Michael Fabricant told MailOnline: "I think Ursula von der Leyen will regard his views with the same contempt that the majority of the British population regard his views. Lord Adonis has become renowned for an extremism expressed in his own way. Fortunately few now choose to pay any real attention to anything he has to say."

  • Joseph Gamp

    EUROPE SHOULD 'LEAVE A LIGHT ON FOR SCOTLAND' – SNP

    The SNP has said Europe should "leave a light on for Scotland" as the Brexit transition period comes to an end. The party's Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Scotland would "be back" to rejoin the EU as an independent country.

    However, the Conservatives accused the SNP-run Scottish Government of spreading "propaganda" about the Brexit deal on its official channels.

    The Scottish Conservatives objected to a video on social media which they described as "one-sided Nationalist distortion". Scotland will leave the European Union despite Holyrood refusing to give legislative consent for the Prime Minister's Brexit agreement.

    The transition period formally comes to an end at 11pm on Thursday, meaning Scotland's trading relationship with EU countries will be governed by the new agreement.

    On Thursday evening, Mr Blackford said: "I ask our European friends and neighbours to leave a light on for Scotland. Scotland will remain a European nation, we will continue to build strong links, and we will be back to take our place as an independent member of the EU."

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