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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

Jan 20, 2021 - World

Iran lays out "road map" for nuclear talks with Biden

Khamenei earlier this month. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Iran has been accumulating bargaining chips and laying out its strategy for engagement with Joe Biden, who arrives in office promising to return the U.S. to the 2015 nuclear deal if Iran returns to compliance.

Why it matters: Recent statements from Iran's leaders indicate that they're willing to strike such a deal. But the sides differ over who will have to make the first move, and when.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Sources say Beto plans Texas comeback in governor’s race

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke speaks during the Georgetown to Austin March for Democracy rally on July 31, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to run for governor of Texas in 2022, with an announcement expected later this year, Texas political operatives tell Axios.

Why it matters: O'Rourke's entry would give Democrats a high-profile candidate with a national fundraising network to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — and give O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman from El Paso and 2020 presidential candidate and voting rights activist, a path to a political comeback.

Texas doctor says he performed an abortion in violation of state law

Pro-choice protesters march down Congress Avenue and back to the Texas state capitol in Austin, Texas, in July 2021. Photo: Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

A Texas doctor disclosed in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Saturday that he has performed an abortion in violation of the state's restrictive new abortion law, which effectively bans the procedure after six weeks.

Why it matters: Alan Braid's op-ed is a direct disclosure that will very likely result in legal action, thereby setting it up as a potential test case for how the abortion ban will be litigated, notes the New York Times.