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Withdrawal Agreement Act signed off by the Queen

Brexit deal becomes UK law

Boris Johnson's Brexit deal has officially become UK law, paving the way for the country to leave the EU next week. The prime minister's Withdrawal Agreement Act was signed off by the Queen on Thursday after completing its journey through parliament.

Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans announced the news to MPs on Thursday afternoon.

This step marks the UK clearing one of the final key hurdles on its path to leaving the EU on 31 January, although Brussels still needs to take a few more steps for it to formalise the agreement in international law.

In October, Johnson tried  to push his Brexit deal bill through the Commons in a matter of days, after managing to strip out its most controversial part known as "the backstop". But MPs complained they were not getting enough time to scrutinise the updated agreement, forcing the prime minister to ask Brussels for a third Brexit delay to avoid no-deal.

The deadline was pushed back to 31 January and with the threat of food, fuel and drug shortages abated, Labour agreed to the Tories' call for a snap election to break the deadlock.

When polling day came on 12 December, Mr Johnson won the Conservatives' best result since 1987 and returned to the Commons with an 80-strong majority. He promised to "end the deadlock" in British politics by delivering Brexit.

The 11-month transition period
While the UK will have formally left the EU on 1 February, an 11-month transition period will then kick in, meaning it stays inside the single market and customs union. Negotiations will be hammered out to try and secure a new deal on the future relationship including a trade deal by the end of 2020.

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