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Brexit done: UK leaves EU as Johnson hails new dawn

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
February 01, 2020 11:33 IST
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The United Kingdom's divorce from the European Union came into force on Friday night as it became the first country to exit the economic bloc after 47 years of membership following the vote in favour of Brexit in June 2016.

IMAGE: People stand at the statue of Winston Churchill as they celebrate Britain leaving the EU on Brexit day in London. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the historic moment as the dawn of a new era for the UK in his address to the nation just before Brexit.

Brexit came into force at 11:00 pm (2300 GMT).

 

"This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act in our great national drama," said Johnson, in his video message which promised hope and opportunity to every part of the United Kingdom.

"It is not just about some legal extrication. It is potentially a moment of real national renewal and change. 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," he said.

While there will be little change instantly as the UK and EU enter into a pre-agreed period of transition from Saturday until the end of December, the process of complete extrication from the now 27-member economic bloc will begin right away.

Johnson was keen to highlight his vision of a friendly negotiation process for both sides to thrash out a new trading relationship as the beginning of a "new era of friendly cooperation" between the EU and an energetic Britain.

IMAGE: Pro-Brexit demonstrators celebrate on Parliament Square on Brexit day in London. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Reuters

Celebrating the UK's "recaptured sovereignty" to deliver the changes the June 2016 referendum vote signified, he noted, "Whether that is by controlling immigration or creating freeports or liberating our fishing industry or doing free trade deals...is the right and healthy and democratic thing to do."

On a critical note on the EU's evolution over the period of the UK's membership, he added, "Because 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."

"And that is a judgment that you, the people, have now confirmed at the polls.”

The Conservative Party leader took charge at Downing Street last year with a "no ifs, no buts" pledge to leave the EU. His General Election campaign pegged around the “Get Brexit Done” message last December won him a thumping majority, after which Britain's exit from the bloc also became a certainty as his Brexit bill easily crossed the parliamentary hurdle.

Acknowledging the long-drawn divorce process and the deep Remain versus Brexit divide within the UK, Johnson said, "Tonight we are leaving the European Union. 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.

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

As part of that forward-looking agenda, the government will kick off its “GREAT Ready to Trade” campaign across 13 countries, including India, from Saturday. Johnson has repeatedly committed himself to a “new and improved” trading relationship with India and now as a non-member of the EU, the UK is free to push ahead with those talks unrestricted by the economic bloc's rules.

IMAGE: Anti-Brexit protesters hold banners outside the Scottish parliament, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photograph: /Reuters
Chronology of Brexit 

January 23, 2013: Prime Minister David Cameron promises an in-out referendum on EU membership if his Conservative Party wins the 2015 General Election.

May 7, 2015: The Conservatives make sweeping gains over the Labour Party and secure a majority in the House of Commons.

June 23, 2016: The UK votes in a crucial referendum to leave the EU with 52 per cent of the public supporting Brexit. David Cameron, resign as prime minister.

July 13, 2016 : Theresa May wins the Conservative Party leadership contest and becomes prime minister.

March 29, 2017 : May sends a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, triggering Article 50. It sets the date for the UK's departure in two years' time: March 29, 2019.

April 18, 2017 : May announces a snap general election in the UK, to be held on June 8.

June 8, 2017: May loses her Commons majority after her election gamble backfires.

July 17, 2017: Brexit talks officially get underway in Brussels between EU and UK negotiators.

March 19, 2018: The UK and EU publish a draft agreement on Britain's withdrawal. But the agreement is not totally agreed.

July 6, 2018: Prime Minister May unveils to her Cabinet her much-awaited Chequers plan.

July 8, 2018: The UK's Brexit minister David Davis resigns in protest. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson follows suit.

November 15 2018: Dominic Raab resigns as Brexit Secretary.

November 25, 2018: The 27 European Union leaders endorse the Brexit deal.

December 13, 2018: Prime Minister May survives a vote of confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party.

January 15, 2019: MPs reject May's Brexit plans by an emphatic 432 votes to 202 in a historic vote.

March 12, 2019: MPs again reject the Government's Brexit deal by 391 votes to 242.

March 20, 2019: May asks the EU to delay Brexit from March 29 until June 30.

March 29, 2019: MPs reject May's Withdrawal Agreement by 286 votes to 344, majority 58, on the day when the UK was due to leave the European Union.

April 10, 2019: EU apress on a flexible extension to Brexit is agreed until October 31.

May 24, 2019: May announces she is standing down as Tory party leader on June 7.

June 7, 2019: May officially steps down as Tory leader.

July 23 2019: Boris Johnson is elected as leader of the Conservative Party and becomes the UK's new Prime Minister.

August 28, 2019: The UK Parliament is prorogued, or suspended, for five weeks, upon advice given to Queen Elizabeth II by Johnson's government.

September 3, 2019: 21 rebel Conservative MPs vote against the government in protest at its Brexit strategy of driving the UK towards an exit from the EU by October 31.

October 3, 2019: The UK government sends a new Brexit plan to Brussels.

October 17, 2019: The UK and EU announce dramatically that they have struck a new Brexit deal, ahead of a Brussels summit.

October 19, 2019: At a special Saturday sitting, British MPs withhold their approval for the deal until laws implementing Brexit are in place.

October 22, 2019: Johnson puts Brexit legislation on “pause”, citing MPs' obstacles.

October 28, 2019: The EU agrees to offer the UK a Brexit “flextension” until January 31.

October 29, 2019: The House of Commons approves a general election on December 12.

December 12, 2019: Prime Minister Johnson's Conservatives wins General Elections and gain an 80-seat majority in the Commons.

January 23, 2020: The UK's EU Withdrawal bill becomes law, after a relatively smooth passage through Parliament.

January 29, 2020: The European Parliament approves the Brexit divorce deal under which the UK will leave the EU on 2300 GMT on January 31.

January 31, 2020: The UK officially leaves the EU.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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