Britain Hails New Start As It Says Farewell To The EU

  • Date: 01/02/20
  • The Times

A page was turned and a new chapter in Britain’s history began at 11pm last night as the Union Jack was taken down in the European parliament in Brussels while cheers rose on Parliament Square in Westminster.

One thousand, three hundred and 18 days (and one hour) after polling closed in the EU referendum of 2016, Britain had cancelled its membership of the European Union.

Unable to have the moment marked by the real bongs of Big Ben because of renovation work, Boris Johnson arranged for the image of the clock tower to be beamed on to No 10 and recorded chimes were played at 11pm with a brief image of zero hour. In a simultaneous tweet the prime minister said that this was “an extraordinary turning point in the life of this country”.

At a victory rally on a muddy Parliament Square where the rain had finally relented, Nigel Farage led Leave supporters in Land of Hope and Glory. The Brexit Party leader said: “For the first time in history, the people have beaten the establishment. The real winner tonight is democracy.”

This is not, of course, the end. Merely the end of the beginning. A lot of negotiation lies ahead before the shape of Britain’s future relationship with its neighbours is settled.

The decree absolute has been granted; the divorced parties still need to divide up the CD collection and arrange custody of the dog.

The Union Jacks were taken down without ceremony in the council of the EU and outside the European parliament. At the same time, British access to diplomatic and EU working-group databases was switched off.

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