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Live Reporting

Edited by Johanna Howitt and Helier Cheung

All times stated are UK

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  1. Sensible trade deal was always most favourable outcome - NI first minister

    Arlene Foster

    Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster said the Stormont Executive will examine details of the trade, as well as others issues such as security, "where agreement will be particularly important from the Northern Ireland viewpoint".

    "Given the government's Northern Ireland Protocol, a sensible trade deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union was always the most favourable outcome for Northern Ireland," she said.

    "Moving forward, we will continue to work to seize the opportunities and address the challenges which arise from the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union."

  2. 'Difficult deal' for Wales - first minister


    Turning to a bit more political reaction, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford says this is a "difficult deal" for his country.

    He said it was "not the deal we were promised" but "provides a platform to which we can return to argue for improvements in the future".

    Welcoming the certainty it provides businesses, Mr Drakeford said: “Businesses now know the terms on which trade can be conducted and certainty is very important to business. Part of that certainty will still be new barriers to trade that we have not seen for many years.

    "People will still have to fill out forms and not be able to trade in the way they have become used to but at least we know how things are going to be done.”

    He added: “So it's a deal, but it's a thin deal, a deal that we were promised would be better but this deal is better than no deal at all.”

    Mr Drakeford will this afternoon write to the Senedd's Llywydd, or Presiding Officer, requesting that the Welsh Parliament is recalled in order to scrutinise the deal.

  3. Watch: Von der Leyen says trade deal is 'fair'

    Video content

    Video caption: Watch back as the European Commission President confirms a trade deal has been done with the UK
  4. Reality Check

    Will the deal allow more business with Europe?

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed his trade deal, saying it would “if anything, allow companies and exporters to do even more business with our European friends”.

    It should be said that we have not yet seen the details of the trade deal.

    But the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told an earlier press conference that the UK had chosen “to renounce the benefits and advantages enjoyed by member states” and that the agreement would not reproduce those benefits.

    The Office for Budget Responsibility, which is the government’s independent economic forecaster, expects that with a free trade deal, the UK economy will be about 4% smaller in 15 years than it would have been had the UK stayed in the EU.

  5. Deal still means more red tape

    Dharshini David

    Economics Correspondent

    The prime minister said a deal means no tariff or non-tariff barriers - but is the latter actually true?

    The increase in red tape (form filling, checks etc) that comes with leaving the EU single market means, economists say, there will be non-tariff barriers, i.e more hurdles to clear than at present.

    The European Commission too states that the “EU and UK will form two separate markets, two distinct regulatory and legal spaces. This will create barriers to trade in goods and services.”

    And extra barriers equals extra costs; the extra admin alone, the tax office says could cost British business £7.5bn.

  6. Firms ‘need guidance’ to keep goods moving


    Businesses have given a relieved welcome to the Brexit trade deal, but warned there was more work to be done.

    The Confederation of British Industry said firms needed urgent confirmation of grace periods to smooth the cliff-edge on everything from data to rules of origin.

    "We need to ensure we keep goods moving across borders," said Tony Danker, CBI director-general.

    He said the deal "will come as a huge relief to British business at a time when resilience is at an all-time low".

    "But coming so late in the day, it is vital that both sides take instant steps to keep trade moving and services flowing while firms adjust."

    You can read more reaction from businesses here.

  7. Detail of deal is most important

    Chris Mason

    Political Correspondent

    Beware the small print.

    Always wise at Christmas.

    You know, those boring bits of paper that get swept away when Christmas gifts are excitedly ripped open.

    The same applies here: what we are currently getting is the gloss from the political leaders -- the things they want to highlight as the best bits, from their perspective.

    What will be really important - when it eventually appears - is the deal itself, all 2,000 pages or so of it.

    That will set out in precise terms what this deal looks like.

    Don't expect that document to make much difference to this deal being ratified, signed off, by the UK parliament and the EU.

    But it will matter when it comes to the precise nature of our relationship with our nearest neighbours in the coming years.

  8. PM: Leaving Erasmus was a tough decision


    Heather Stewart of the Guardian asks what he would say to the young people who will now not be able to take part in the Erasmus scheme.

    And, what his message is for Labour leader Keir Starmer, she asks.

    Johnson says leaving Erasmus was "a tough decision" but that the programme was "extremely expensive".

    Instead, he says the UK will produce a "Turing scheme" - named after the mathematician Alan Turing - which will allow UK students to go to universities around the world.

    On the Labour question, he says he strongly encourages the opposition to support the deal.

    And that is the last question of the press conference.

  9. Johnson: People shouldn't fear for security

    Next, the PM is asked for more detail about security arrangements - "are we going to be as safe next week as we are today?"

    Mr Johnson says: "I am absolutely confident this is a deal that protects police cooperation, our ability to catch criminals and share intelligence across the European continent as the way we have done for many years."

    He adds: "I don't think people should have fears on that score or in fact on any score."

  10. What is the PM's message to Remain voters

    Gordon Rayner of the Telegraph asks if the PM has a message to Remain voters.

    "Most people want this settled and want us to move on," Johnson replies.

    "This European question has been going on for decades," he adds.

    "This is a great new free trade deal which will bring prosperity to both sides of the channel."

  11. PM: EU is a 'noble enterprise'

    Asked about comments made by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who has said "the war is over" now the UK has left the EU with a deal, the PM says he doesn't recognise that language.

    "The EU was and is an extraordinary concept and it was born out of the agony of the second World War, founded by idealistic people... who never wanted those countries to go to war with each other again," says Mr Johnson.

    "In many ways it was and is a very noble enterprise."

    The PM says the UK's own relationship with the EU was "always difficult", but the deal offered "the basis of a new long term friendship and partnership that basically stabilises that relationship".

    He adds: "We are there as a friend, a supporter, a flying buttress if you like... to lend our voice when needed and be a value to our EU friends and partners."

  12. PM: City of London will prosper


    Times Radio's Tom Newton Dunn asks if the PM has compromised. He also asks if the services sector will do more trade or less trade.

    Mr Johnson says the UK compromised over the length of the transition of phasing in new fishing rules.

    He says the service sector does feature in the deal with "good language about equivalence for financial services"

    "Not as much as we would have liked... but it is going to allow our dynamic City of London to prosper as never before."

    He adds that lawyers will be able to practice around the EU.

  13. PM: How we use our freedom is what counts

    The PM is then asked whether people can trust that life will be better and there will be no disruption in the long term.

    Mr Johnson says in the short term "there are things we have to get right, processes that maybe people have to do that they have to be aware of".

    But he adds: "I do believe the freedoms this treaty wins us - a new independence from the EU - are worth having.

    "To people watching this, I would say it is one thing to get freedom, winning freedom is a fantastic thing, but it is how we use it and make the most of it that will matter in the years to come."

  14. PM: UK will not be constrained by rules

    bORIS jOHNSon

    Back to the PM's press conference and Mr Johnson is accused by ITV's Robert Peston of "mis-selling" the deal, and that the UK will have to follow EU rules on subsidies, tax, on workers' rights and the environment - or potentially incur tariffs.

    Peston says it's also "not right" to say there will be no non-tariff barriers, as from January there will be new bureaucracy for British businesses.

    "I respectfully disagree with you," says Mr Johnson.

    "Because there is indeed a clause in the deal which is nothing like as damaging as it was - and is, in my view neutralised - which says if either country feel that the other one is in some way undercutting... then subject to arbitration and provided the measure is proportionate... they can, if they really choose, put on tariffs to protect their consumers and their businesses.

    Mr Johnson gives the example that the UK wants "to go further on animal welfare standards" and "it might be that we do things for example on how you rear pigs" that would incur extra costs for pig farmers - and there would be a risk that pigs from elsewhere could undercut them.

    "We might under those circumstances consider imposing tariffs. I think it's highly unlikely but we might consider it."

    In no circumstances would we be in any way constrained legally or otherwise, Mr Johnson adds.

    Mr Johnson says it is far from the idea of the UK and EU working to a "common rule book".

    Responding to Robert Peston's second point, Mr Johnson says "there will be change" for businesses on 1 January - but that it will be an opportunity.

  15. Brexit deal headlines across Europe

    Headlines across Europe

    The relief across Europe is palpable that a deal has been secured as daylight fades on Christmas Eve.

    El Mundo in Spain reports that after almost 10 months and with time running out white smoke emerged from the chimney. The headline for Dutch website De Volkskrant is “EU and UK seal trade deal – chaotic Brexit averted”; Denmark’s Politiken breathes a sigh of relief: “Finally, Britain and the EU agree on future relations”.

    Le Monde in France announces in English: "The deal is done", explaining that the two sides reached a deal "in extremis" on their post-Brexit relations.

    Italy’s Le Repubblica points to an internal UK document in which Prime Minster Boris Johnson hails victory and highlights EU concessions. German tabloid Bild proclaims simply: “There’s a Brexit trade agreement”

  16. 'A good compromise and a balanced outcome' - Irish Taoiseach

    Micheál Martin

    Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Micheál Martin said he believed the deal was "a good compromise and a balanced outcome".

    In a statement, he said the implementation of the Protocol on Northern Ireland "enables Northern Ireland business to trade smoothly with Britain and within the EU single market" and "avoids a return of a hard border on the island".

    "There is no such thing as a ‘good Brexit’ for Ireland," he said.

    "But we have worked hard to minimise the negative consequences."I believe the agreement reached today is the least bad version of Brexit possible, given current circumstances."

  17. Sturgeon: Brexit is happening against Scotland's will


    As the press conferences got under way, the reaction started coming in immediately.

    Here is the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's reaction: "Before the spin starts, it’s worth remembering that Brexit is happening against Scotland’s will.

    "And there is no deal that will ever make up for what Brexit takes away from us. It’s time to chart our own future as an independent, European nation."

  18. A moment of triumph for the PM

    Chris Mason

    Political Correspondent

    Whatever you think of the prime minister, and few are indifferent, today is a moment of triumph for Boris Johnson.

    When he became prime minister, he had no majority, no mandate to call his own, an angry country and an angry Parliament.

    18 months, a pandemic and nothing less than a brush with death later, he has won a big majority, got the UK out of the European Union, and now done a deal with Brussels.

    Some, in the coming days, will suggest it's not good enough.

    Others will never be reconciled to Brexit, an idea they will forever regard as a colossal act of self harm.

    Vast amounts wait to be found, no doubt, buried amid the subterranean depths of the deal document itself.

    But plenty will hope this is the final giant moment in what has been a tortuous few years, combining visceral apoplexy with waves of tedium.

  19. PM asked where the UK compromised


    We now come to questions. The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg asks where the UK and EU sides compromised the most.

    Johnson replies "we wanted complete control over our fisheries from the get-go."

    "The EU began with wanting a transition period of 14 years, we wanted three years, we have ended up at five years.

    "I think that was reasonable.

    "I can assure great fish fanatics in this country that we will be able to catch and eat prodigious quantities of fish."

  20. Johnson: Immensity of this moment

    "This deal was done by a huge negotiating team from every part of the UK and it will benefit every part of our United Kingdom," says Mr Johnson.

    But he wants to address "our EU friends and partners", saying the deal "means a new stability and certainty in what has sometimes been a fractious and difficult relationship".

    He says: "We will be your friend, your ally, your supporter and, indeed never let it be forgotten, your number one market."

    The PM then turns to the British people to conclude his speech.

    "At the end of this toughest of years our focus is on defeating the pandemic... and rebuilding our economy and I am utterly confident that we can and will do it," he says.

    "But it is up to us all together as a newly and truly independent nation to realise the immensity of this moment and make the most of it."