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Brexit Becomes Reality As UK Quits EU Single Market

Britain on Thursday finally severed its turbulent half-century partnership with Europe, quitting the EU single market and customs union to go its own way four-and-a-half years after its shock vote to leave the bloc.

Brexit, which has dominated politics on both sides of the Channel since 2016, became a reality as Big Ben struck 11pm in London, just as most of mainland Europe ushered in 2021.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson — the figurehead of the “Leave” campaign — described it as an “amazing moment” for the country and played up his upbeat narrative of a “Global Britain” unshackled from rules set in Brussels.

He vowed that post-Brexit Britain, despite being battered by a surge in coronavirus cases, would be an “open, generous, outward-looking, internationalist and free-trading” country.

“We have our freedom in our hands and it is up to us to make the most of it.”

On the front page of its Friday edition, the stridently anti-EU Daily Express showed a picture of the White Cliffs of Dover and the headline “Our future. Our Britain. Our destiny”.

Legally, Britain left the European Union on January 31 but has been in a standstill transition period during fractious talks to secure a free-trade agreement with Brussels, which was finally clinched on Christmas Eve.

 

*By Jitendra Joshi and Phil Hazlewood 

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Written by PH

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