Negotiating teams from the UK and the European Union have agreed a free trade agreement after twelve fraught months of talks.
With the Brexit transition period due to expire in just one weeks, many were sceptical that a deal was possible.
Last weekend a UK government source suggested that the UK was heading for a No Deal Brexit unless there was a “substantial shift” from European negotiators.
And just yesterday, while expressing optimism that a deal could be done, the housing secretary Robert Jenrick warned that “there’s still the same serious areas of disagreement.”
But last night reports of an imminent deal began swirling, with journalists expecting an announcement this morning.
The morning announcement never materialised as both teams continued hashing out details throughout the day, until the agreement was confirmed in the late afternoon.
Although many Eurosceptics are keen to pore over the details of the 2,000 agreement, early responses have been positive.
The Brexit Party leader, widely seen as one of the more hardline Eurosceptics in the country, declared that “the war is over” and remarked that “it’s not perfect, but goodness me it’s still progress.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, one of the architects of the Brexit-inspired leadership challenge against Theresa May in 2018, tweeted that Britain is “a sovereign nation again.”
The response wasn’t entirely positive though, with many chiming in to criticise the compromise on fisheries policy, which will see European trawlers maintain significant access to British waters during a five and a half year transition period.
The campaign group Fishing for Leave complained that “fishing communities who paid the ultimate price on the way in get a poor deal to pay for a deal on the way out.”
With early signs indicating that the opposition Labour Party will support the Prime Minister’s deal, it’s unlikely that a back bench rebellion can disrupt the passage of the agreement in Westminster.
But the judgement of the legal “star chamber” of Eurosceptic conservatives, set to be revealed in the coming days, may establish or undermine the legitimacy of the deal in the eyes of many British Eurosceptics.