Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage has mocked Theresa May, saying the Brexit divorce agreement can move Britain onto “the next stage of humiliation”.
Mr Farage took to Twitter in the aftermath of this morning’s announcement of a deal struck allowing negotiations in the withdrawal from the European Union to move to the second phase.
He posted: “A deal in Brussels is good news for Mrs May as we can now move on to the next stage of humiliation”.
Mr Farage has been a great critic of the split from the EU, having accused the UK Government of “betraying” the Brexit expectations of millions of voters after conceding ground on the Irish border to kick start trade talks at the start of this week.
Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce , was far more positive about the negotiation breakthrough.
In a statement, he said: “Businesses will be breathing a sigh of relief that ‘sufficient progress’ has been achieved.
“After the noise and political brinksmanship of recent days, news of a breakthrough in the negotiations will be warmly welcomed by companies across the UK.
“Business will particularly cheer the mutual commitment to a transition period to support business confidence and trade, and will want the details confirmed swiftly in the new year when negotiators move on to the big questions around our future trade relationship with the EU.
“For business, a swift start to trade talks is crucial to upcoming investment and growth decisions. Companies all across the UK want absolute clarity on the long-term deal being sought, and want government to work closely with business experts to ensure that the details are right.
“Businesses want answers on what leaving the EU will mean for regulation, customs, hiring, standards, tariffs and taxes. The job of the UK government and the European Commission now is to provide those answers - and do everything in their power to ensure vibrant cross-border trade between the UK and EU countries can continue.”
On citizens’ rights, Mr Marshall added: “The biggest priority for many firms since the EU referendum has been to get clarity and security for their European employees, whose contribution to business success across the UK is hugely valued.
“We are delighted that they, as well as UK citizens living and working in the EU, now have more clarity and can plan their future with greater confidence.”
Chancellor Philip Hammond congratulated Mrs May, saying on Twitter: “Delighted a deal agreed in Brussels that paves way for further progress on talks about future UK/EU relationship. A positive step.
“Today’s announcement in Brussels is a boost for Britain’s economy. Now let’s conclude a trade deal that supports Britain’s jobs, businesses and prosperity.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted it was time for Mrs May’s critics “to recognise her extraordinary strength & resilience which, whatever the hurdles ahead, will deliver stage 2 just as it has delivered stage 1”.
Meanwhile, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Move to phase 2 of talks good - but devil is in the detail and things now get really tough.
“If #Brexit is happening (wish it wasn’t) staying in single market & customs union is only sensible option. And any special arrangements for NI must be available to other UK nations.”
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier tweeted a video of a sprinter jumping hurdles with the caption: “First #Brexit hurdles taken ... more to come.”