Legislative process and final sign-off
Following agreement in principle on Christmas Eve 2020, the UK Parliament was recalled to ratify the terms. The European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020 came into law on 30 December when it was passed by the House of Commons and the House of Lords and received Royal Assent.
The Prime Minister duly signed the agreement on behalf of the UK and on the European side, the European Council and the European Commission signed the agreement on 30 December.
Although the terms of the deal have been operating in practice since 1 January 2021, because they were finalised so close to the deadline for the end of the Transition Period, they have actually only been agreed by the EU on a “provisional basis”. Formal ratification by the EU is still required in the form of consent from the European Parliament and conclusion of the agreement by decision of the Council of the European Union. It is predicted that this should happen around the end of February.