Boris Johnson Hails Dawn of New British Era as Britain Finally Breaks from the EU
Prime minister to vow to reunite Britain in historic Brexit Day address to the nation
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed the "dawn of a new era" for Britain as Brexit Day finally arrives and the country breaks from the European Union.
In a Friday speech, PM Johnson will celebrate "national renewal and change" as the UK leaves the EU at 11 pm on January 31, 2020.
In a historic Brexit Day address to the British public, Johnson will vow that his effort to spread prosperity to every region of the country and reunite Britain begins immediately.
“This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act,” he will tell the nation.
On Friday morning, Mr. Johnson convened a Cabinet meeting in Sunderland – the first city to make a declaration for Leave during the 2016 EU referendum count.
The move is a symbolic gesture from the PM to show his desire to reach out to parts of the UK that have felt ignored by the Westminster establishment.
Johnson's keynote address to the nation from 10 Downing Street will be broadcast on Facebook an hour before the UK’s departure from the EU at 11 pm.
“Our job as the government – my job – is to bring this country together and take us forward,” the prime minister will say.
“And the most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning."
He is expected to make a heartfelt appeal for the country to move on from the bitter Remain versus Leave division.
“It is a moment of real national renewal and change,” the PM will say.
“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.
“This is the moment when we begin to unite and level up.”
Pointedly, Johnson is not expected to mention the word "Brexit" in his speech.
He has told ministers to drop the term as a clear signal of the new era of renewal and break with past divisions.
His address will coincide with the start of a 60-minute countdown to “E for Exit” hour at 11 pm displayed on a digital clock projected onto the brickwork of Number 10 Downing Street.
In Brussels, the moment of the UK’s departure from the European bloc after 47 years of membership will be marked by the lowering of the Union flag.
Mr. Johnson will celebrate the moment with a low-key drinks party for Government staff who have been involved in the Brexit process at Number 10.
At today’s Cabinet meeting in the North East, ministers will discuss the Government’s agenda for boosting neglected parts of the country with increased spending on infrastructure and public services.
Chancellor Sajid Javid is expected to emphasize the need to rebalance public spending.
After tonight’s celebrations, the prime minister is to immediately turn his attention to his push for a free-trade deal with the EU.
He will set out his negotiating aims in a detailed speech on Monday, warning Brussels he will resist their demands for the UK to remain signed up to a swathe of EU regulations.
PM Johnson will say the Government will accept post-Brexit border checks rather than continue to accept rules from the bloc, insisting the sovereignty is more important than frictionless trade.
Mr. Johnson’s spokesman said yesterday: “The manifesto on which the Government was elected was very clear that there will be no alignment.
“We have always been very clear that we are leaving the EU’s customs union and single market and that means that businesses will have to prepare for life outside of these.
"The manifesto spelled out those two things very clearly.
“We are leaving the customs union, that means businesses will have to prepare outside of the customs union.
"It will inevitably mean extra processes are required on EU-UK trade.”
Mr. Johnson is to meet the staff at the Department for Exiting the EU, which formally ceases to exist at 11 pm with its mission completed, to thank them for their work.
Former Brexit minister Steve Barclay said: "I will celebrate.
"I will allow myself a smile, I’ll allow myself that glass of champagne, I will enjoy myself.
"But I’ll celebrate discreetly, and I will celebrate in a way which is respectful of the genuine sorrow that others are feeling at the same time.”