Boris Johnson hails dawn of new era for UK on Brexit Day

PTI

Brussels: A woman holds up the Union and the European Union flags during an event called "Brussels calling" to celebrate the friendship between Belgium and Britain at the Grand Place in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. The European Union grudgingly let go of the United Kingdom with a final vote Wednesday at the EU's parliament that ended the Brexit divorce battle and set the scene for tough trade negotiations in the year ahead. (AP/PTI Photo)

Brussels: A woman holds up the Union and the European Union flags during an event called “Brussels calling” to celebrate the friendship between Belgium and Britain at the Grand Place in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020.  (AP/PTI Photo)

Britain’s exit from the EU is not an end but a new beginning, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson who is set to deliver a message of unity to mark Brexit Day on Friday when the country finally leaves the bloc, over three years after the landmark Brexit vote.

In a video message recorded in Downing Street on Thursday and to be aired at 2200 GMT on Friday, an hour ahead of the UK’s scheduled exit time, the Conservative Party leader who took charge as UK prime minister last year with a ‘do or die’ Brexit pledge will characterise the historic moment as a new beginning for the country.

“This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act. It is a moment of real national renewal and change,” Downing Street said in a read-out of Johnson’s address to the nation.

“Our job as the government ‘ my job ‘ is to bring this country together and take us forward. And the most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning,” it reads.

In keeping with the message of unity, Johnson is chairing his first Cabinet meeting on tour in the north of England and has chosen the city of Sunderland, the first city to declare support for leaving the EU in June 2016.

This is the dawn of a new era in which we no longer accept that your life chances your family’s life chances should depend on which part of the country you grow up in. This is the moment when we begin to unite and level up, says Johnson, who has vehemently campaigned for Brexit over the years.

The UK’s formal end to its membership of the economic bloc, the so-called divorce, comes into effect at 2300 GMT on Friday, after which it ceases to be part of any of the EU institutions, including the European Court of Justice.

However, the UK will continue to follow EU rules and procedures until the end of a pre-agreed transition period, which runs until December end 2020.

During that period, both sides are bound by a Political Declaration signed alongside the EU Withdrawal Bill to strike a new agreement for their future trading relationship.

The end to the UK’s 47-year membership of the economic bloc, which will now be made up of 27 European countries, will be marked by pro-Brexit celebrations at Parliament Square in London as well as some anti-Brexit marches in London and Northern Ireland.

The UK’s Union Jack flags are lining up the Mall, which leads up to Buckingham Palace in London, and all major government buildings in the political hub of Whitehall will be lit up in its red, white and blue colours as a similarly themed light display in Downing Street counts down the final Brexit hour.

A new commemorative 50-pence coin with the message ‘Peace prosperity and friendship with all nations’ will also go into circulation at that moment.

(PTI)