A free trade deal between the UK and the European Union is expected to be confirmed this morning.
More than four years after the UK voted to leave the EU, the trade deal, which will still require EU and UK parliamentary ratification, is expected to be confirmed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The final negotiating stumbling blocks over competition rules and fishing rights have been overcome.
It lifts the hugely damaging impact of a no deal with the UK and EU having to impose quotas and tariffs on a wide range of goods based on WTO rules, which economic forecasters warned would have shaved 2% off UK GDP and seen a spike in inflation.
However, the slim deal being announced today doesn’t extend to finance services, and will mean goods being trade between the EU and the UK will have to undergo custom checks with related documentation paperworks. The Office for Budget Responsibility said that port checks could shave 1% of UK output.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson led a late-night call with Cabinet ministers to update them on the situation.
Mr Johnson has been in close contact with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in recent days as top-level efforts intensified to get a deal over the line.
The pair are expected to have a further call on Christmas Eve to agree the deal.