London, Jan 31 (IANS) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hail the “dawn of a new era” at 11 p.m. on Friday when the UK will leave the European Union (EU).
Bonds dating back to 1973 when the UK joined the European Economic Community will be broken later in the night, but Johnson has insisted that Brexit marked “not an end but a beginning”, the Mtero newspaper said in a report.
Very little will change at the moment of Brexit as a result of the deal which Johnson agreed with Brussels and the 27 remaining member states.
Most EU laws will continue to be in force, including the free movement of people, until the end of December, by which time the UK aims to have reached a permanent free trade agreement with the EU.
In a symbolic move, Johnson on Friday morning will chair a meeting of his Cabinet in Sunderland, the city which was the first to back Brexit when results were announced after the historic 2016 referendum.
And later he will deliver an “address to the nation” an hour before the UK leaves the EU.
As 11 p.m. arrives, Big Ben will remain silent, despite a high-profile campaign, fuelled by Johnson, for repair works to be halted to allow Parliament’s bell to ring.
But on Parliament Square, Brexiteers will gather for a party led by Nigel Farage, while Union flags were already flying around Westminster, the Metro report added.
In official events, Downing Street will be illuminated with a light show and a new 50 p coin will enter circulation.
In Brussels, the UK flag will be removed from the EU institutions, with one Union flag expected to be consigned to a museum.
In Scotland, which voted to stay in the EU in the 2016 referendum, candlelit vigils are planned.
On Thursday, outgoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged the country not to “turn inwards” and instead “build a truly internationalist, diverse and outward-looking Britain”.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby told the BBC: “We must be united in a common vision for our country, however great our differences on achieving it – a common hope for what we want to happen, and what we want to do in the years to come.”
Brexit was originally scheduled for March 29, 2019 but was repeatedly delayed when MPs rejected a previous withdrawal agreement reached by the EU and former Prime Minister Theresa May.
Johnson was able to get his own deal through Parliament after winning the December 12, 2019 general election with a House of Commons majority of 80, on a pledge to “get Brexit done”.
This brought to an end more than three years of political wrangling, following the referendum of 2016, in which 52 per cent of voters backed leaving the EU.