The UK finally leaves the EU after 47 years, sparking euphoric scenes as Boris Johnson pledges to unleash UK’s full potential: Brexit News for Saturday 1st February

The UK finally leaves the EU after 47 years, sparking euphoric scenes as Boris Johnson pledges to unleash UK’s full potential: Brexit News for Saturday 1st February

The UK finally leaves the EU after 47 years, sparking euphoric scenes as Boris Johnson pledges to unleash UK’s full potential

Britain has finally left the EU tonight as millions celebrate one of the biggest moments in the nation’s history. The UK is at last an independent country again, sparking wild scenes of joy across our United Kingdom. After years of dither and delay, tonight the public celebrates with Boris Johnson finally delivering Brexit. It came as the Prime Minister vowed to unleash the “full potential” of Brexit Britain and pledged “hope and opportunity” for the North. Scenes of jubilation erupted at a rally in Parliament Square as the clock struck 11pm and hardcore Brexit fans had tears in their eyes as they sang a rendition of God Save The Queen. – The Sun

Brits far and wide celebrate Brexit in style with festivals and pub crawls to mark history

Britons last night toasted in a new era for the UK outside the European Union with parties, pub crawls and rallies across the country. The celebrations got into full swing well before 11pm, when Britain finally divorced from the bloc after three and half years of wrangling. From the flagship Leavers party in London’s Parliament Square, to the social clubs of Warrington in the North West, merry revellers waved Union Jacks and wished each other a ‘happy Brexit day’. Champagne corks were also popped in the other home nations, with gatherings in Glasgow and Belfast continuing long into the night. People decorated their homes for Brexit-themed dinner parties and planted British flags along their streets amid a wave of patriotism as the country forges a new path. Town halls and sports clubs were transformed into a sea of red white and blue where Brexiteers glugged down English ales and wine while belting out the national anthem. – Daily Mail

  • UK exits European Union with parties across the country – Telegraph (£)

Boris Johnson declares that the UK has ‘taken back self-government’…

The Prime Minister vowed to use the country’s “recaptured sovereignty” to build “a moment of real national renewal and change” at the moment the UK’s 47-year membership of the bloc came to an end. From 11pm on 31 January, Britain enters an 11-month transition period with the EU, in which it will remain broadly aligned to the bloc’s rules and trading arrangements until the end of the year. But Friday evening – marked by a light display at Number 10 and a televised address from the Prime Minister – still signals the country’s legal divorce from Brussels after decades of membership, and triggers the quest to strike a new deal with the EU in the months ahead. – PoliticsHome

…as he aims to have 80 per cent of Britain’s trade covered by new deals within three years…

Boris Johnson told the Cabinet his aim is to have 80 per cent of Britain’s trade covered by post-Brexit free trade deals within three years. That would be a 30 per cent increase on the current proportion that is covered through free trade deals, including our trade with EU countries. The PM wants to prioritise striking free trade deals with countries that it doesn’t currently have free trade agreements (FTAs) with. Those at the top of the list are the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The 80 per cent figure was in the Tory party manifesto. From today Britain can finally open formal trade deal negotiations with third countries having been barred from doing so as an EU member. – The Sun

…while ramping up the pressure on Brussels with the threat of full customs and border checks on European goods

Boris Johnson is preparing to impose full customs and border checks on all European goods entering the UK after Brexit, in a ramping up of pressure on the coming EU-UK trade talks, the Telegraph has learned. In a radical departure from pre-election ‘no deal’ planning that prioritised the smooth flow of goods into the UK from Europe, Whitehall departments have been told to prepare for imposing the full panoply of checks on EU imports to the UK. The toughened approach, which is designed to give UK negotiators greater leverage against Brussels, came as Mr Johnson promised that Brexit would open an exciting new chapter “in our great national drama”. – Telegraph (£)

Michael Gove: The true prize of Brexit is the chance to make politics work again

Anyone who writes about politics should always be conscious of the shadow of George Orwell hovering at their shoulder. Political language, he pointed out, is too often an attempt to give the impression of solidity to pure wind. Politicians bolt pre-fabricated phrases together in the hope of evading scrutiny or challenge. There’s a tendency to use abstract nouns and high-sounding phrases to prevent being pinned down and held to account. As a result, cynicism among the public about what is being done in their name only grows. Nowhere has this, perhaps, been truer than in the debate over Britain’s relations with the European Union. Few political conversations have been quite so windy. – Michael Gove MP for The Times (£)

Andrea Leadsom: The EU offered no reform – that is why we’ve left

I was nearly 10 years old when the UK joined the European Economic Community. I’m now 56 – and we are making a fresh start. Like so many, I grew up as part of the EU. And like so many, I felt frustrated by our membership. When I left my career in the City to become an MP in 2010, EU reform was one of my top three priorities. They were what I called “my three Bs”. Babies, giving every baby the best start in life; banks, to reform the excesses in the banking system; and Brussels, or as it turned out, Brexit. I set up the Fresh Start Project with two good MP friends – Chris Heaton-Harris and George Eustice. Almost 200 Conservative MPs came to our first meeting and our plan was to reform the EU with the UK at its heart. Over three years, we explored every aspect of the EU – from budgets to immigration, regional policy to life sciences, and from fisheries to security. – Andrea Leadsom MP for the Express

Tony Abbott: Australia is cheering on Britain’s exciting new freedom from the EU

Britain’s departure from the EU is a historical watershed. As a big moment in geopolitics, it ranks with the fall of the Soviet Union. For decades, it had been assumed that the nation state would decrease in importance and that supra-national bodies, such as the EU and the UN, would become ever more relevant; just as, a generation back, pro-communist writers assured us that they’d seen the future and it worked. The revolt of the British electorate against Brussels’s encroachment shows, yet again, that there’s nothing inevitable in the course of history. Britain hasn’t turned its back on history; yet again you’ve changed it! This is a monumental personal triumph for Nigel Farage who has single-mindedly been crusading against the arrogance and interference of the EU for almost three decades. It’s also a tribute to Boris Johnson who sniffed the wind and correctly concluded that a majority of the British people would back themselves in any disagreement with foreigners. – Tony Abbott for the Telegraph (£)

Owen Paterson: The UK needs to be prepared to exploit the extraordinary benefits of global free trade

Today is, of course, a splendid and significant day in our history. Despite the doom-laden predictions of Project Fear and the torrents of abuse from an ever more radicalised Remainer rump, the determination of Leave voters to see their democratic wishes implemented has won out. We are leaving the EU, honouring the largest democratic mandate ever given in British history. From today, the dynamics of our negotiations with the EU change. It is no good the EU continuing its game of making Brexit seem so unpalatable or impossible that we prefer to Remain. Instead, it now needs to recognise the mutual advantage of coming to a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with a friendly neighbour. – Owen Paterson MP for Politics Home

Kate Hoey: We united across political spectrum to complete the people’s crusade

On this historic day it gives me great pleasure to see those men and women who faced abuse, hostility, allegations of racism and stupidity because they wanted their country to be truly independent, winning through. While it is certainly not appropriate to gloat, I will be celebrating the pricking of the London-centric balloon. The negativity, the dire warnings of economic catastrophe and planes falling from the skies have all been exposed for what they were – the last gasp of a privileged Remain establishment. In this respect the great Brexit debate has fundamentally been about power: who gets to determine the future of our country? Is it the privileged who control our most powerful institutions, or is it the people themselves? – Kate Hoey for the Express

John Longworth: The EU have learned nothing from Brexit but our future is bright

Many tears were shed on the other side of EU Parliament as I waited for the vote on Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement earlier this week. Never have I heard so much drivel, principally from long serving left liberal UK MEPs who have been on the Brussels gravy train for years. Amazingly, many of them voted against us leaving – and declare we will be back! Beware Britons, the forces of the establishment have not given up. The EU bureaucracy are still at work and determined to bring us back into their fold. They have even tried to ban national flags on the desks of MEPs – something all nationalities have been keen to avoid. But several MEPs couldn’t resist one final pop at the establishment and sneaked them in anyway. It is a symptom of the overarching EU Superstate that they are even intimidated by little flags, and that the love of country must be crushed. – John Longworth for The Sun

James Forsyth: Now it’s a whole new brawl game as Brexit trade talks head for a mighty smash

This is the first day of the rest of our lives. Britain is out of the EU. But don’t think you’ve seen the last of Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator. The UK and the EU still have a trade deal to sort out and those talks are currently heading for a mighty smash. The two sides are far apart, as we will see on Monday when they both set out their negotiating position. But they only have until the end of the year to reach agreement, with Boris Johnson determined not to extend the transition period into 2021. The UK thinks the EU doesn’t realise how much has changed over the past few months. One Downing Street source tells me that the EU’s strategy is to: “Deploy the same strategy of the last three years.” – James Forsyth for The Sun

Charles Moore: The ruled have given the rulers a lesson – and made Britain stronger in doing so

As a boy, I used to pore over an illustrated Edwardian book called Battles of the 19th Century. One essay in it, about Waterloo, stays with me. It reprinted the headlines of a contemporary French newspaper reporting Napoleon’s escape from Elba in 1815 and his subsequent march on Paris. The first headline was “The cannibal has left his den”, the second, “The Corsican wolf has landed”, and so on. As the escapee marched successfully north, the tone of the headlines began to change: “Bonaparte is advancing with great rapidity, but he will not set foot inside the walls of Paris”. Then it was “The Emperor has arrived at Fontainebleau”. The last proclaimed: “His Imperial Majesty Napoleon entered Paris yesterday, surrounded by his loyal subjects”. On Thursday night, I read out the full list of headlines. The occasion was a merry dinner, skillfully assembled by this paper’s columnist Allison Pearson, of about 60 journalists, writers, historians, boulevardiers who have consistently argued for Brexit over these long years – the few who had spoken up for the many. – Charles Moore for the Telegraph (£)

Kai Weiss: A farewell from Europe – now take your chance outside the EU

As a European who likes free markets and is wary of Brussels’ mission of an “ever closer union” I was disappointed when Britain voted to leave the EU. I understood why the majority of Brits wanted to leave, but also lamented that the most realistic country in the union would now be departing. Without the naysayers across the Channel, centralisation can proceed apace, with all the negative implications it has for the continent’s economic freedom and – paramount in the Brexit debate itself – democracy. – Kai Weiss for CapX

Dr Gerard Lyons: Seize the moment

Enjoy the moment but seize it too. We should enjoy the fact that the UK is leaving the EU and doing so because the democratic result of the 2016 Referendum has been finally recognised. Political sovereignty is being returned. We should seize the moment too. So much has been written about Brexit, but it should be reiterated and appreciated what a great opportunity leaving the EU is for the UK. It can both reboot the domestic economy and reposition itself in the changing and growing global economy. First the UK Government should outline a clear vision aimed at the home population and at the global community. For the last three years the domestic political crisis has prevented a clear, positive vision of the UK post Brexit from being painted. It should address the mistaken impression some have given that the UK will be inward looking and insular. Far from it. The UK needs to ensure it continues to punch its weight globally – across a host of areas – whether it be as a member of UN Security Council, as the world’s fifth largest economy or indeed, being the only member when in the EU 28, to meet both of the global commitments to spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence and 0.7 per cent on overseas aid. – Dr Gerard Lyons for Politeia

Brexit in Brief

  • The economy’s Brexit boom may come to be more important than Brexit day itself – Marcus Gibson for the Telegraph (£)
  • Happy Brexit Day – Daniel Mitchell for International Liberty
  • You can thank Remainers for the hardness of this Brexit – James Kirkup for The Spectator
  • The future is Brexit and the future is bright at last for Britain – John Longworth for the Yorkshire Post
  • Remainers try to forget Brexit by booking city breaks – Telegraph (£)
  • Maldives rejoins the Commonwealth just one hour after Brexit – LBC News
  • Jubilant Tories welcome first day of Britain outside the EU, mocking doom-laden predictions about the consequences of leaving the EU – Daily Mail
  • The 10 maddest Remainer moments – Spiked