Brexit row descended into chaos after Father Christmas snuck into Parliament

Brexit: France and UK must 'learn to co-exist' says Deas

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Brexit remains a key issue in UK politics, with Britain and the EU making a big breakthrough on fisheries this week. A new fisheries deal has been reached over how to divide up shared stocks in the year ahead. Under the Brexit trade deal, London and Brussels are required to annually agree on catch quotas and fishing rights in the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean – a separate affair from the row over fishing licences which has sparked threats of a trade war and prompted French trawlers to blockade the Channel.

While tensions over fishing may have been calmed, there remains differences over the Northern Ireland protocol.

The last five years has seen MPs in the UK furiously debate Brexit, and one year their squabbles descended further into chaos when Father Christmas rocked up at Parliament in 2018.

His arrival prompted an MP to ask if he was there “to save Brexit”.

He appeared as Chelmsford MP Vicky Ford was making a speech about the Irish backstop.

In bizarre footage, she stops midway and says: “Hello Father Christmas.”

As MPs laughed about the surprising appearance, John Bercow, then Speaker of the House of Commons, intervened to urge everyone to get back to business.

Ilford’s MP Wes Streeting joked it could be a desperate attempt from then-Prime Minister Theresa May to get people to back her Brexit withdrawal deal.

He tweeted: “Father Christmas has turned up in the Commons Tea Room and bellowed that ‘you’ve all been very naughty’. Is this the PM’s latest attempt to press MPs to back her deal?”

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran added: “Father Christmas just came into the chamber then left! I thought I was hallucinating!

“As if this week could get any weirder.”

Labour’s Stewart MacDonald tweeted: “Someone dressed as Santa Claus just entered the chamber at the back of the Speaker’s Chair and is now hovering around some of the other doors into the Chamber.

“This is not the most shocking thing to happen in Parliament this week.”

The Brexit-Christmas crossover returned when, on the eve of the special day in 2020, the EU and UK announced they had finally agreed a trade deal.

A Number 10 spokesperson said: “The deal is done. Everything that the British public was promised during the 2016 referendum and in the general election last year is delivered by this deal.

“We have taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters.

“The deal is fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK. We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that has ever been achieved.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted a picture of himself with both thumbs up.

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European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen added: “It was a long and winding road, but we have got a good deal to show for it.

“It is fair. It is a balanced deal. And it is the right and responsible thing to do for both sides.

“At the end of a successful negotiation I normally feel joy. But today I only feel quiet satisfaction and, frankly speaking, relief.

“I know this is a difficult day for some and, to our friends in the United Kingdom, I want to say parting is such sweet sorrow but, to use the line from TS Eliot, what we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is often a beginning.

“So, to all Europeans, I think it is time to leave Brexit behind.”

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