BORIS Johnson has begun the task of trying to persuade Eurosceptic Tories to back his Brexit trade agreement.
The PM has insisted the historic deal “right deal” for the country but acknowledged “the devil is in the detail”.
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The trade deal was finally secured on Christmas Eve after four years of bitter wrangling between the UK and EU.
MPs will vote on the deal on December 30 after the Government ordered Parliament to be recalled.
In the meantime, the European Research Group (ERG) of hardline Brexiteers has announced it will assemble a panel of lawyers to examine the 1,246-page text.
The ERG said would reconvene its “Star Chamber” that reviewed Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement last year with veteran Eurosceptic Sir Bill Cash, 80, once again the chairman.
Mr Johnson is keen to retain the support of the Eurosceptics on his benches who helped him reach No 10 and has already been seeking to smooth the path to securing the deal’s approval by MPs.
“I truly believe this is the right deal for the UK and the EU,” Mr Johnson told Tory MPs on WhatsApp, the Telegraph reports.
“We have delivered on every one of our manifesto commitments: control of money, borders, laws, fish and all the rest.
“But even more important, I believe we now have a basis for long-term friendship and partnership with the EU as sovereign equals.”
He added that “I know the devil is in the detail” but the deal will survive “ruthless” scrutiny from the “star chamber legal eagles”.
Mark Francois, the chairman of the ERG, and David Jones, the deputy chairman, acknowledged that the deal would be “highly complex” but promised to reach a conclusion as quickly as possible
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The timing of the Christmas Eve deal forced politicians and officials in the UK and Brussels to tear up their plans.
MEPs are not expected to approve it until the new year, meaning it will have to apply provisionally until they give it the green light.
The PM received boost as Sir Keir Starmer vowed that Labour would back the deal – meaning it’s likely to sail through the Commons next week.