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Brexit: UK begins new life outside EU with political shake-up

The UK has started life outside the European Union, after 47 years of membership.

All British MEPs have lost their jobs in the European Parliament and the UK retaking its seat at the World Trade Organisation.

Work also got underway on Friday to update the sign on the door of the country’s permanent representation to Brussels to reclassify it as a diplomatic mission instead.

Special badges were even given to passengers on the first boats arriving in Dover that morning.

Image: The UK’s representation in Brussels has been changed to a diplomatic mission Image: Special badges were given to those on the first boats to arrive after Brexit

But much else will remain the same until the end of 2020 during the so-called “transition period” as the UK continues to follow EU law, remain in the single market and customs union and freedom of movement will still be allowed.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not been seen in public since Britain’s EU exit at 11pm on Friday, but did release a video message to the nation an hour before.

PM: ‘An astonishing moment of hope’

Other politicians appear to be keeping a low profile after a night of celebrations in Westminster led by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

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French President Emmanuel Macron used the occasion to send a letter to “British friends” and talk up France’s close ties with the UK.

“You are leaving the EU but you are not leaving Europe, nor are you becoming detached from France or the friendship of its people,” he wrote.

“The Channel has never managed to separate our destinies; Brexit will not do so, either.”

The moment the UK left the EU

Those warm words came as The Daily Telegraph reported that Mr Johnson is preparing to impose full customs and border checks on all EU goods entering the UK at the start of 2021.

“We are planning full checks on all EU imports – export declarations, security declarations, animal health checks and all supermarket goods to pass through Border Inspections Posts,” it reported a senior Whitehall source as saying.

Sky News marked the moment Brexit happened by projecting a countdown clock onto the White Cliffs of Dover, which ended in the historic announcement, “The UK has left the EU.”

This is how the country marked ‘Brexit day’

The prime minister earlier hosted a reception in Number 10 for cabinet ministers, advisers and civil servants, officials who were involved in the negotiations, and supporters of the Leave campaign.

Downing Street was also illuminated and Big Ben was projected on to it, with a recording of the bell’s famous bongs played through speakers when the clock struck 11pm.

Pro-EU demonstrations also took place in Westminster, Brighton and Scotland, where people held candlelit vigils and rallies.

Image: Protests were held in Scotland against leaving the EU

Attention has already turned to the next set of talks on trade and other areas which will apply from 1 January 2021.

Brussels is pessimistic about the 11-month timetable for reaching a deal and made clear that Britain will have to accept worse terms and conditions for trade than if it were still a member of the EU.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said: “We want to have the best possible relationship with the United Kingdom, but it will never be as good as membership.”

Mr Johnson has insisted he will not ask the EU for an extension to the negotiation deadline, setting the stage for another battle.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Brexit was “a deep break for us all” and warned the “negotiations will certainly not be easy”.


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