this is bbc news, i'm geeta guru—murthy, the headlines. a brexit announcement is expected shortly, as the signs from london and brussels point to an agreement on the table. the remaining differences between the two camps have been narrow but deep — in particular over fishing rights. more than 6000 lorries spend another night stranded outside the port of dover, with drivers waiting to be tested for covid—19 before they're allowed into france. stay at home from boxing day. the message to another 6 million people in england as the toughest level of covid restrictions are widened. president trump has issued another round of pardons — among them two key allies who were convicted over the russia inquiry.
hello and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world. the uk and the european union are on the brink of an historic post—brexit trade and security deal ending nearly a year of bitter wrangling. an announcement that the two sides have secured an agreement the uk and the european union are on the brink of an historic on their future relationship, which will avoid import taxes on each other‘s goods, is expected this morning. fishing is the issue they are stuck on and the news conference is being delayed. both sides are continuing to hammer out the details.
in a moment we go brussels with our europe correspondent, gavin lee, but first to westminster and our political correspondent, iain watson. do we know what is causing this delay? we were expecting an announcement by now. we are told some technical issues are being ironed out, but we are expecting a deal to be announced later this morning. iam deal to be announced later this morning. i am told that the key call between boris johnson morning. i am told that the key call between borisjohnson and eu commission president ursula von der leyenis commission president ursula von der leyen is unlikely to happen for about another hour or so. this is the call when they finally seal the deal. negotiators have been poring over the detail of an eye. we have been told there is some quibble over the type and number of fish that can be caught, but overall, on fishing, people have been following this closely, it looks as though the uk has moved a bit and they will now face on any new arrangements, reductions in the amount of fish that eu boats can catch over 5.5 yea rs that eu boats can catch over 5.5 years rather than three years, but the eu has moved some way from
asking for a long 1a year transition, down to 5.5 years. there are still quibbles over precisely what type of fish will be caught, but it looks as though there will be a reduction of around a quarter, in the eu catch. that has been perhaps the eu catch. that has been perhaps the most contentious issue, even though it is only worth 0.12% of the british economy. when borisjohnson finally appears, waving a piece of paper in his hand, saying we have got a deal, he will be saying that it delivers on his manifesto promise to return control of our borders and our economy to the uk. that is what he will claim to stop some on his own side in the conservative party, in the brexiteer european research group say they will get through this with a fine tooth comb to see if his policies and sovereignty will be delivered, and he has been calling some members of that group to brief them on the deal in advance. 0nce some members of that group to brief them on the deal in advance. once we get as far as that, we are not there
yet, and time seems to be slipping this morning, but once that happens, parliament will be recalled next week, but eyes expect substantial labour support for any deal even if they are critical of it is opposed to no—deal, and with many tory mps just glad to get brexit done, to coina just glad to get brexit done, to coin a phrase, it will go through the british parliament and the european parliament will have to retrospectively ratify it at some time in the new year. but we expect in terms of the big picture the deal to be done but it looks as though some little bumps on the road need to be negotiated before an announcement can be made here by borisjohnson announcement can be made here by boris johnson and in announcement can be made here by borisjohnson and in brussels by ursula von der leyen. we expect this to be an historic day in the brexit saga. is it possible to sum up what the uk has gained or lost at this stage? we have not seen the details yet. we expect 2000 pages of detail. it is going to be spun on both sides. it wouldn't be brexit if it
wasn't to miss another deadline, 4.5 yea rs wasn't to miss another deadline, 4.5 years since the referendum and just one week before the uk is due to leave all of the eu rules and regulations behind, but we will get a clearer idea of the future trading relationship, and there will be agreements also on security and on data sharing. not much on financial services which makes up the bulk of the uk economy, say critics will be expressing some concerns there. we will dependent on unilateral decisions by the eu in terms of market access for that important area. in terms of gains, the government is likely to say two things, first that we have tariff free and quota free access, even better than the canada deal, they will suggest, so they will not be paris put on foods coming from the uk to the eu, and there will not be limits on the goods that can be sold in the markets in the eu single market. that will be seen as a great
gain. it is being claimed that the state by uk government celsius, that the european court ofjustice, seen as an unacceptable body to interfere in uk affairs by many conservative brexiteers, it looks as though they will not have the kind of role that was initially envisaged for them, and if there are disputes between the two sites, there will be independent arbitration, and it has been a demand by many boris johnson's mps that they are able to move away from the orbit of the eu, and i'm thinking that is what he will claim, in this press conference later this morning, if it goes on as expected. if you can hold on for a few minutes, i want to bring in gavin, a europe correspondent. how does it look where you are, and how much interest is there, because brexit has been dwarfed by the pandemic this year, and is it of key
economics and jobs interesting many in europe? there is excitement, not just from journalists covering it back from the people involved in the talks with the member states. i have been covering this every breath, as people came out of the building behind me, commissioners and foreign member states, completely shocked, with her mouth open and since that time, fast forward to the last few hours, they have been in there, on the top floor, where the lights are on, they were talking about fish, species by species, then the lights went off, so we think negotiators are out, and the only thing that kept him going was ten boxes of pizza, the most interesting thing journalists got to see visually outside. we are told in about 90 minutes there should be a press conference on both sides with ursula von der leyen, the eu commission president giving a press conference here, but we still await that
confirmation that she and boris johnson have had that final call. this comes down to eight member states and the uk in these long nights of talks which you could say was this optically planned? 0rjust perfect timing, that christmas eve, they get some kind of deal. this is not the deal theresa may had envisaged previously was that this isa envisaged previously was that this is a deal where the uk is out of the single market and customs union. there will be changes comejanuary. there will be changes comejanuary. there will be transport facility fees, lots of bureaucracy involved, but no tariffs and no quotas. the devil will be in the detail. and it is going to take days for notjust us, but legal experts on both sides and the member states to go through the detail of what concessions are being made before it is agreed by member states and then signed off before the end of the year. thank you, gavin. we will be back with you soon. going back to iain watson. he is in westminster for us watching this from london. sum up political
moment that we are in, because in a way, you could say brexit would not have happened without borisjohnson. this process has taken out two conservative prime ministers, it has given a lot of power and influence to one part of the conservative party after a very narrow and divisive national vote. party after a very narrow and divisive nationalvote. 4.5 party after a very narrow and divisive national vote. 4.5 years ago, june divisive national vote. 4.5 years ago,june 23, divisive national vote. 4.5 years ago, june 23, 2016, when that vote took place, it was by no means certain that the brexit deadlock would be broken under theresa may, all those so—called meaningful vote is where would not back the kind of deal she was envisaging with the eu which would have kept us in some kind of customs arrangement, and as gavin has been pointing out, it does mean that there will be some friction in trade with the eu, rather than frictionless trade that theresa may would have wanted, but from david cameron losing narrowly that referendum, his career ended
over brexit, the brexit curse continued with theresa may who was effectively removed at the hands of her own party, boris johnson effectively removed at the hands of her own party, borisjohnson won that thumping 80 seat majority and that thumping 80 seat majority and that race, get brexit done, back in 2019. he then had to deliver that. there was some talk about whether he would go for, in the end, a clean break brexit as some of his supporters called it, and the extra freedom of moving outside of the eu, but in terms of the economy, the bank of england suggesting it would contract even further, a further 2%, which is huge in terms of both finance and employment, so he has decided pretty much close to the wire, close to the last minute, to get this done. the question now is whether people simply want to move on, forget about the details of the 2000 page document, heave a sigh of relief, or whether the covid crisis will in any case overshadow some of the details of that deal, but boris johnson will be able to say he has reached agreement with the eu, and a
trade deal will be done which is also hugely important, in terms of the government was back standing when it comes to negotiating other trade deals including with the new administration in the us. iain watson in westminster, thank you very much. david henig is a former uk trade negotiator and the uk director of the european centre for international political economy. iain watson was saying that a no—deal exit would have cost gdp, but even this brexit, which in the old terms between soft and hard, looks like a hard brexit, has been forecast to cost the uk economically. that's right. there will be new barriers to trade between the uk and eu. the deal doesn't prevent those. we are expecting talks to continue into the new year. it will not be anything like a seamless trading relationship. but it is certainly going to be better than no deal, and it lays the framework down for
further cooperation between the uk and eu, so it is significant the prime minister has decided to go for this deal. if you look at the whole framing of the last 4.5 years, we are ina framing of the last 4.5 years, we are in a very tight, close, relationship. the vote, ultimately, didn't hinge on fish. a lot of the other issues were about the idea of sovereignty, immigration. where do we stand now on those key issues that people perhaps thought they we re that people perhaps thought they were voting on the? it compromises in the number of areas. clearly, this is a looser relationship with the eu, but it is a relationship, we will be linked in with the eu in many ways. we will have a closer control over immigration. that was the red line that there may established as prime minister, and has continued, but it is certainly a
compromise. there is no question that the uk has got everything it wanted, for example the same access to the single market but without any of the obligations which is what was being talked about at various points. it is a more distant relationship but also the basis on which a future relationship can be built and which a future relationship can be builtandi which a future relationship can be built and i suspect this is not the end of the story. it may be as a headline media story but there will continue to be developments in the uk- eu continue to be developments in the uk— eu relationship in the future. is it possible to sum up what the uk has gained and lost as a result of this? i know we don't have the deal but the broad outline agreements are out there. in broad outline, we have agreed quite a compromise on fish, where we haven't taken immediate control of all of our waters and a high uplift in the fish we can catch, but that is phased in over six years. we have accepted there have to be a number of fair
competition provisions, in return for a deal, the so—called level playing field conditions, and there area number of playing field conditions, and there are a number of areas in which we haven't yet heard about uk progress, such as financial service and data equivalents. we suspect we haven't really got what we wanted in those areas. it is a fairly thin deal, in return for some commitments, but perhaps not as strong commitment as the had wanted. on financial services, a massive part of the economy, the bulk of it, what does that now mean? further negotiations in the year? we know that big parts of city, which generates so much for this country had already made a lot of changes right at the beginning immediately after the vote. there is a financial services equivalents framework the eu has, we are not hearing about it at the moment but it seems likely the uk will not be granted equivalence in many areas in time forjanuary the 1st. banks have been making plans for that. it means
there will be more difficulties for uk banks in offering financial services through the eu. we are not quite sure how that will affect their operations and trading figures, but itjust will be more difficult in general to operate, and there will be doubtless further discussions between the uk and the eu on how to manage that financial services situation. i'm sure that london will carry on being an important centre for eu financial services. is it possible to sum up, if you look ahead 5—10 years, will the uk be more free but weaker and poorer, or more free and potentially stronger, in terms of political power, with more wealth behind it? that is still to be written to stop it is going to be harderfor us to gain economically, because there will be barriers to our nearest trading partner, but on the other hand, politically, we may be able to gain from other trade deals from
feeling we have other options than just the eu, so that is very much in the balance. it is going to be an initial economic hit back the future is there for us to write. thank you very much indeed. our business correspondent theo leggettjoins us. where are the compromises being reached? there has certainly been a compromise made on fisheries, which is the very thorny issue all the way through these talks. that's shows how political this is as opposed to the question of economics because if it was all about the economics fisheries would not have become a big part of it. it is not that significant part of the uk economy but if you're talking about sovereignty it matters a lot to the government. the compromise that has been reached, it looks as though it will involve the eu reducing its share of the uk fish catch by about
2596 share of the uk fish catch by about 25% over the next 5.5 years, so that will be phased in. it is not what the uk government was asking, it wa nted the uk government was asking, it wanted a reduction of 35%, but it is not either what the eu's initial offer was which was around 18% so there have been compromises, clearly. we understand there have been compromises on the level playing field, the arrangements that would be put in place to ensure that, where current rules and regulations in the eu and uk are the same, if there is any diverges over the years, that nobody gets an unfair advantage. and rules of origin, a concept where, if a car, for example, is built in the uk but it is made out of parts from other countries, what percentage of it cou nts countries, what percentage of it counts as uk or eu source, to get tariff free access into the eu market, it looks as though the uk government has gained some concessions. it is a negotiating process. there have been concessions. and it looks like we will be getting a deal. the response
from business so far seems to be welcoming it. they certainly didn't wa nt welcoming it. they certainly didn't want no—deal, there's lots of really, but it is a grudging welcome as well, because this deal still means that there is going to be friction at our borders, more customs checks and formalities than there used to be on both sides, and that that is going to cost money and increased time. but at least there is tariff and quota free access by the looks of it all goods, but crucially, not for services. on the goods, then, i know we have not had any formal deal announcement, but does this allow the big motor manufacturers for example to stay in the uk as long as they have got access to those key eu markets? that isa access to those key eu markets? that is a very difficult question to answer. assuming this deal is what you think it is and that there is tariff and quota free access, that is part of what the big industries we re is part of what the big industries were asking for. but you still have to remember that there will be
additional controls at frontiers. trade across the dover calais route for example will no longer be as sea mless for example will no longer be as seamless or quick as it once was and that has implications for the timing and cost ofjust—in—time supply chains. it does affect the balance that companies will have to judge when thinking about where to place future investment. take the car industry, which i cover a lot. it has invested lots of money in this country and that investment is not going to go away overnight. factories have taken a lot of money to set up. those factories will be here for years. the question is, what about future investment, when current production runs come to an end? the company will look back and say what does it cost me to build a product in the uk compared to building it in the european country? that is really difficult decisions are going to come and we simply don't know the details yet. the companies themselves have not had a chance to evaluate that. it is a very difficult question to answer.
chance to evaluate that. it is a very difficult question to answerlj will very difficult question to answer.” will throw another one at you, on financial services. where do you think we are as a country, because we are reliant on that, and people say that the jobs haven't dwindled in the city of london despite all of the worst predictions of some remainers. we are still an economic powerhouse in the financial sector, with a lot of expertise here, which is why the banks still have a lot of jobs based there. what is the future ahead for that? again, if i had a crystal ball, i would look into it and let you know! london will remain and let you know! london will remain a significant financial centre. there is no doubt about that. it is a question of how much business moves into the european union. 0ver the past couple of years we have seen that process under way, banks moving subsidiaries into the eu, setting up there, to ensure that, whatever happens with negotiations, they could continue to operate. it is likely some business will move. 0bviously, is likely some business will move. obviously, this is a very large part
of the uk economy, but it is not as if the whole sector will move overnight. it is difficult to tell what the long—term consequences will be. but the uk will lose out in some shape orform, be. but the uk will lose out in some shape or form, simply because we will not have the kind of access that we have been able to have before. theo leggett, our business correspondence, thank you very much. joining me from oxford is professor anand menon, director of the independent research group, uk in a changing europe. how are you feeling this morning, professor? we have spoken so many times. it has been incredibly heated and divisive debates, and the idea that a deal will be announced in the coming hours, is itan that a deal will be announced in the coming hours, is it an exciting moment? it is an exciting moment. the very fact of having a deal as david hennig was saying, makes a difference because it makes a baseline for uk— eu relations going forward. this is a very big moment.
the uk and the eu are very big trading partners. they are close allies and friends. and having an agreement makes a fundamentally different to the nature of the relationship going forward. where do you see the sort of gains and losses on what we have heard and seen so far? tariff and quota free access is a very big deal. it will help manufacturers in particular. the agricultural sector will be breathing a sigh of relief that they will not be subject to sometimes very high tariffs on exports to the eu. we haven't seen this deal yet, but on services, you are talking about financial services, we will have far less access to the european market in terms of financial service products than we did as a member state. it will almost certainly be harderfor state. it will almost certainly be harder for lawyers, architects and others who provide services in the european union to do so going forward. it is worth bearing in mind that, whilst the deal will be better for trade than no—deal, this is still, i think am i going to be a
deal that imposes significant friction between us and the eu, and changes things quite profoundly for businesses that do business with eu member states. immigration was one of the key concerns at the time of this vote and the brexit referendum. that has fallen away politically, is an issue amongst the public, of such high concern. how is that changing, because there is more restriction on the movements, and yet, to fool the work gaps in the workforce, britain will now be bringing people in from other parts of the world. there are several bits to your question. it is fascinating to see that, after over a decade in which immigration was a lwa ys a decade in which immigration was always one of the top three issues in the minds of the public when asked about the issues that matter, it has fallen out of the top ten stopped all of a sudden immigration is no longer touch—tone political issue. we brought in a new points—based system this year, and the key development there is eu
nationals, from the 1st of january, will be treated the same as people from any other country in the world. people who qualify on the basis of the points system can come in, regardless of nationality. no special treatment for europeans. some economists worry that, having this salary threshold will mean that, in certain areas, whether it is social care, agricultural work, we might struggle to get the people we might struggle to get the people we need into the country because they do not tick the boxes necessary under the points—based system. they do not tick the boxes necessary under the points—based systemm terms of what is immediately happening now, the deadline has slipped, we are used to that end brexit processes, how much of this is about borisjohnson's political persona in terms of the deal that we end up with, how much of it is his choice? this is his choice to a significant extent. 0ne choice? this is his choice to a significant extent. one of the things we have seen over the last year, borisjohnson things we have seen over the last year, boris johnson in things we have seen over the last year, borisjohnson in a sense saying i simply will not accept the kind of thing is the was willing to
accept, alignment with eu rules being the notable change. his personality has been stamped on this. it is a deal that will appeal to the hardline brexiteers in his own party, or at least so he hopes, because there is less in the rue —— less rule taking from brussels, and the prime minister being who he is will sell this is a great achievement and massive trial, a deal against all the odds. 0ne achievement and massive trial, a deal against all the odds. one of the advantages of doing this on christmas eve is that very many people will simply not have the time or inclination to plough through 2000 pages over the next three or four days. it is likely to go through parliament, has to go around the european parliaments, but that'll be in the new year, presumably. it will be in the new year but i see very little prospect of the european parliament blocking it. if 50, of the european parliament blocking it. if so, thank you. no doubt of the european parliament blocking it. if 50, thank you. no doubt we will be back with you in the coming hours. we are still awaiting the news conference. we presume there
will be one from downing st. that is the front door of number ten, all ready for christmas, and we expect to hear from ursula ready for christmas, and we expect to hearfrom ursula von der leyen in brussels. this is bbc news. and as we keep an eye on that famous front door, we are going to move on from brexit. we will keep you up—to—date with any changes as soon as we hear. let's move on now to all the other news today. on the covid front another 6 million people in the uk will be facing much tougher restrictions from boxing day, is a large chunk of the south and east of england moves onto tf or restrictions. health secretary matt hancock said it was because the current tier 3 was not enough to contain a fast spreading variant of the virus. remember this? contain a fast spreading variant of the virus. rememberthis? boxing day 2019, and shoppers flocking to the sales. it is a very different
picture this year. 24 million people will be living under the toughest tierfor will be living under the toughest tier for coronavirus restrictions. these shoppers in huntingdon, cambridgeshire, are taking the new measures in their stride. it is going to keep us safe in the end thatis going to keep us safe in the end that is really good and i am quite happy. i think it is a good thing if we have gone into a higher tier, we should be aiming for another lockdown, it worked last time. matt hancock said that the old system of mark rutte was not enough to control the new variant of the virus, and revealed that another variant from south africa has been revealed in the uk. this new variant is highly concerning because it is yet more transmissible, and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant discovered in the uk. all flights arriving in the uk from south africa are banned from this morning. anyone who has been in south africa, or who has been in close contact with someone who has been there and the past fortnight,
is asked to quarantine immediately. across the uk, people will be celebrating christmas in limited ways. in scotland, christmas bubbles will be allowed on christmas day, with a maximum of eight people from three councils. in northern ireland, a lockdown starts on boxing day, the first week will have stricter restrictions, although people can form a christmas bubble for one day between the 23rd—27th december. wales is in a new national lockdown after a large spike in cases. the health secretary had this christmas message. we must give up now. we know that we can control this virus, we know that we can get through this together. we are going to get through it by suppressing the virus until a vaccine can make us safe. all hopes now rest with the vaccine roll—out. the uk transport secretary grant shapps has urged lorry drivers
stranded in kent to be patient as they wait to cross the channel following the reopening of the french border. more than six thousand lorries are being held in the county, with drivers being tested for covid—19 before they are allowed into france. the french government has sent a team of firefighters, and 10,000 tests, to help speed up the process. 0ur reporter simonjones in manston, near dover, where thousands of lorries are parked up. simon — how much disruption is there at the moment? there is a huge amount of disruption, particularly in the day the area, where roads remain clogged. there was a steady stream of lorries emerging from the get behind me. there is one coming out behind me. there is one coming out behind me. there is one coming out behind me now. these are drivers who have tested negative for coronavirus. they will now head down to the port of dover and be allowed to the port of dover and be allowed to get on a ferry and finally return home. sounding their horns, some drivers have been waving at us, relief for them, finally, to have
the prospect of going home. despite the prospect of going home. despite the fact that some are leaving this site and testing is under way, yesterday the backlog of lorries actually got higher, because this site became totally full, almost 4000 lorries here, another 2000 lorries parked up on the m20. so, more hauliers have been heading towards kent, hearing that the border towards france is open now but they are being told to join the back of the queue and for them it is unlikely they will be home in time for christmas. do you know any more about how this testing is happening? well, what happens is it is a lateral flow test, so you get the results within about 40 minutes. tests are being handed out to drivers in their cabs. they then get a text message and if it is negative, they will be allowed to leave the site. if they get a positive test result, they are asked