Britain granted its 'divorce' from the EU

Updated: Feb 1, 2020

The countdown marked the end of the UK's 47 year membership

Britain has left the European Union, bringing the curtain down on 47 years of membership.

Almost three and a half years on from the referendum, the UK ceased to be a member of the bloc at 11pm on Friday.

The PM is hosting a reception at Number 10 for cabinet ministers, advisers and civil servants, officials who were involved in the negotiations, and supporters of the leave campaign. While in Brussels, the UK flag has been taken down the EU institutions, with one Union flag handed over to a museum.

Speaking ahead of Britain’s official 11pm exit on Friday, Boris Johnson acknowledged that there are many who feel a sense of anxiety and loss but promised it would bring about the revival of the UK’s power of independent thought and action.

As a clock was projected onto Downing Street to count down to the moment when the UK’s 47-year membership of the EU officially came to an end, Mr Johnson released a video message, saying it would usher in “real national renewal and change”.

European commission president Ursula von der Leyen, said that they want the best possible relationship with the United Kingdom but it will never be as good as membership.

"Our experience has taught us that strength does not lie in splendid isolation, but in our unique union,"she said.

While the UK has agreed the terms of its EU departure, both sides still need to decide what their future relationship will look like and this will be mapped out during the transition period, with the deadline set for 31 December 2020.

During this 11-month period, the UK will continue to follow all of the EU's rules and its trading relationship will remain the same with changes coming into effect on 1 January 2021. However, Boris Johnson has a big job on delivering a deal that both parties can live with.

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