Hundreds of Britons gathered in Parliament Square and in pubs up and down the country as they counted down the UK’s final minutes in the European Union.
While the chimes of Big Ben remained silent as they historic moment passed, Brexiteers rejoiced as the clocks struck 11pm by singing the national anthem.
Yesterday’s celebrations marked the climax of Britain’s fight for freedom from the EU after years of bitter tensions dividing the country.
Aiming to bring the UK together, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Britain to “unite and level up”.
Speaking in a video message broadcast to the nation yesterday evening, Mr Johnson hailed “the dawn of a new era” and “a moment of real national renewal and change”.
The Conservative Party leader steered clear of the celebrations in Parliament Square but Brexiteer heavyweights Nigel Farage, Ann Widdecombe and Richard Tice were all in attendance.
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Brexit news: Britons celebrate Brexit Day
Accompanying the speeches from the now former MEPs, an audio recording of Big Ben was played to mark the UK’s newfound independence.
In stark contrast to Britain’s celebrations yesterday, evening in Brussels, the UK’s departure was marked in sombre fashion.
The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen described Britain’s departure as “a very emotional day”.
In a symbolic moment, Union Flags were removed from EU buildings in Brussels and taken to the bloc’s museum for safekeeping.
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Brexit Day celebrations are happening in pubs up and down the country
Brexit news: The celebration was held in Parliament Square
After years of stalemate in the UK Parliament blocking Britain’s exit from the EU, the key breakthrough in Britain’s hunt for freedom from the bloc came following Mr Johnson’s landslide election victory last year.
After becoming the leader of the Tory party, Mr Johnson called a December election, the first to be held in the month since 1923.
Under a manifesto pledge to “get Brexit done”, the Prime Minister won over crucial Leave seats in the north and midlands as he created the Blue Wall.
Winning 365 seats, Mr Johnson effectively defeated any chance of his Brexit deal being blocked in Parliament.
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Brexit Day celebrations saw hundreds rally in Parliament Square
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Following the election victory, Mr Johnson’s deal passed through the initial stages of Parliament and proceeded to the Lords.
Although the peers voted on several amendments to the deal, MPs rejected the advice before the law was given Royal Assent on January 23.
Mr Johnson’s deal then went full steam ahead as Ms von der Leyen and President of the European Council, Charles Michel signed the agreement before MEPs ratified the legislation in Parliament this week.
From today onwards the UK and EU is in a transition period where they will attempt to negotiate their trade agreement.
The deadline for the transition is December 31, 2020, where following which, the UK will officially be independent from Brussels.
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Negotiations over the trade agreement have not yet begun but officials in Brussels have already declared the timetable to be too short.
Indeed, European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen said securing a trade deal within the 10 months was “basically impossible”.
She also added without an extension of the period beyond 2020 “you cannot expect to agree every single aspect of our new partnership”.
Disregarding the warnings from the continent, Boris Johnson has declared Brexit will be completed by the end of the year.
Although many across the nation were celebrating Brexit Day yesterday, the UK’s independence has been a hard-fought battle.
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Despite 52 percent voting to leave the EU in 2016, the UK did not leave on its intended March 29, 2019 exit date.
In the aftermath of the referendum, David Cameron stood down and was replaced by Theresa May who pledged that “Brexit means Brexit”.
On March 2017, Mrs May triggered Article 50 thus activating negotiations with the EU over the withdrawal agreement.
However, as Mrs May struggled to proceed with the Brexit process, she was then forced to call an early election as she said: “The country is coming together, but Westminster is not”.
Her decision was a disaster as her party lost 22 seats forcing the Prime Minister into an agreement with the DUP.
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In June 2018, the House of Commons passed the Government’s Withdrawal Bill.
However, Parliament included a crucial amendment which would allow MPs to vote on the final deal.
What followed were a series of meaningful votes which Mrs May lost and forced her to sign an extension to Brexit until June 30.
Following a second extension request prolonging the process to October 31, Mrs May announced her resignation.
In a speech outside No10 she said: “I will shortly leave the job it has been the honour of my life to hold.
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“The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last.
“I do so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have served the country I love.”
With the end of her tenure, Mr Johnson was soon announced as leader in July.
The newly elected Prime Minister agreed his new deal with the EU in October and although he missed the October 31 deadline, he has finally taken the UK out of after 46 years in the trade bloc.