Brexit: UK officially leaves the European Union

Brexit: UK officially leaves the European Union

The UK has officially left the European Union after 47 years of membership – and more than three years after it voted to do so in a referendum, BBC UK reports.

Brexit Uk Officially Leaves The European Union
Brexit Uk Officially Leaves The European Union

The historic moment, which happened at 23:00 GMT, was marked by both celebrations and anti-Brexit protests.

Candlelit vigils were held in Scotland, which voted to stay in the EU, while Brexiteers partied in London’s Parliament Square.

Boris Johnson has vowed to bring the country together and “take us forward”.

In a message released on social media an hour before the UK’s departure, the prime minister said: “For many people this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come.

“And there are many of course who feel a sense of anxiety and loss.

“And then of course there is a third group – perhaps the biggest – who had started to worry that the whole political wrangle would never come to an end.

“I understand all those feelings and our job as the government – my job – is to bring this country together now and take us forward.”

He said that “for all its strengths and for all its admirable qualities, the EU has evolved over 50 years in a direction that no longer suits this country”.

He added: “The most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning,” he said, and “a moment of real national renewal and change”.

How did the UK mark the moment?

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GETTY IMAGES

Brexit parties were held in pubs and social clubs across the UK as the country counted down to its official departure.

Hundreds gathered in Parliament Square to celebrate Brexit, singing patriotic songs and cheer speeches from leading Brexiteers, including Nigel Farage.

Pro-EU demonstrators staged a march in Whitehall to bid a “fond farewell” to the union – and anti-Brexit rallies and candlelit vigils were held in Scotland.

In Northern Ireland, the campaign group Border Communities Against Brexit staged a series of protests in Armagh, near to the border with the Republic of Ireland.

In a speech in Edinburgh, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland was being “taken out of the European Union against the wishes of the overwhelming majority” of its people.

Speaking in Cardiff, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said Wales, which voted to leave the EU, remained a “European nation”.

Pro Eu Campaigners Take Part In A Missing Eu Already Rally Outside The Scottish Parliament Pa Media
Pro Eu Campaigners Take Part In A Missing Eu Already Rally Outside The Scottish Parliament Pa Media

What happens now?

UK citizens will notice few immediate changes now that the country is no longer in the European Union.

Most EU laws will continue to be in force – including the free movement of people – until 31 December, when the transition period comes to an end.

The UK is aiming to sign a permanent free trade agreement with the EU, along the lines of the one the EU has with Canada.

But European leaders have warned that the UK faces a tough battle to get a deal by that deadline.

What’s the reaction in Europe?

Officials Remove The British Flag At European Union Council In Brussels
Officials Remove The British Flag At European Union Council In Brussels – REUTERS

READ MORE: BBC NEWS UK

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