Sunday, February 2, 2020

UK Leaves the European Family

A pro-EU group had projected a message onto the White Cliffs of Dover. Image credit: PA Media 

Brexit supporters held a party in Parliament Square in London, UK. Image credit: Getty Images 

Pro-EU campaigners took part in a "Missing EU Already" rally outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, UK. Image credit: PA Media

11:00 PM, January 31, 2020.

And the UK bids farewell to the European Union after 47 years of membership – and more than three years after it voted to do so in a referendum – and it was marked by both celebrations and anti-Brexit protests. 

Candlelit vigils were held in Scotland, which voted to stay in the EU, while Brexiteers partied in London's Parliament Square. 

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted a picture of the EU flag, adding: "Scotland will return to the heart of Europe as an independent country – #LeaveALightOnForScotland". 

Her call for a new referendum on Scottish independence now becomes louder – she has argued that Brexit is a "material change in circumstances".

Meanwhile, Washington's ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson, said Brexit had been "long supported" by President Donald Trump. 

UK citizens will notice few immediate changes now that the country is no longer in the European Union. Most EU laws will continue to be in force  including the free movement of people  until December 31, when the transition period comes to an end. 

The UK is aiming to sign a permanent free trade agreement with the EU, along the lines of the one the EU has with Canada. But European leaders have warned that the UK faces a tough battle to get a deal by that deadline. 

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis said agreeing a trade deal was "not a charitable exercise, this is an exercise of both sides recognizing their own best interests". 

He told the Today program: "From today, we are their [the EU's] biggest export market".

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