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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson celebrates reaching a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU. Photo via Downing Street

The historic post-Brexit trade deal reached between Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government and the European Union was signed into U.K. law by Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday morning.

Why it matters: The law will come into effect at 11pm Thursday U.K. time when the Brexit transition period officially ends.

  • The House of Commons voted 521 to 73 on Wednesday in favor of the bill, which was approved by the U.K. House of Lords later that night — marking the last major hurdle needed to implement the deal.

The state of play: Johnson's government was criticized for giving Parliament just days to scrutinize one of the most significant pieces of legislation in decades, but even members of the opposition Labour Party ended up voting for the agreement in order to stave off a potentially catastrophic "no-deal" Brexit.

  • The deal, which fundamentally reshapes the U.K.'s relationship with its closest and largest trading partner, will now go to receive royal assent and becoming law.
  • European heads of state came out in support of the deal earlier this week, while the European Parliament plans to scrutinize the agreement and officially vote on it after Jan. 1 — though it will be applied on a provisional basis in the meantime.

Go deeper: U.K. and EU reach historic post-Brexit trade deal

Editor's note: This story has been updated with details of the House of Lords vote and the signing of the bill into law.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 1, 2021 - Economy & Business

Post-Brexit Britain arrives

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It took two general elections, three prime ministers, and just over 4 1/2 years, but as of today Britain finally has the Brexit it voted for in June 2016.

  • It's not a pretty sight.

The big picture: Britain has left Europe's single market and customs union, and is no longer governed by European law.

Ina Fried, author of Login
45 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."