He spoke about the opportunities this moment would provide, such as controlling immigration, creating free ports, “liberating” our fishing industry, doing free trade deals or “simply making our rules and laws for the benefit of the people of this country.” A cricket ball’s throw away in Parliament Square, thousands gathered for a Brexit party, fronted by The Brexit Party. This nascent political grouping, not yet a year old, appeared pretty pleased with themselves as they swayed and crooned with the crowd. In winning may’s European elections, they had precipitated Theresa may’s departure, ensured her successor was a paid-up leave supporter, and had helped make Brexit a reality. In a statement, mrs may declared that “after more than three years, we can finally say we have delivered on the result of the 2016 referendum and have kept faith with the British people.” Outgoing labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Britain’s place in the world will change. The question is what direction we now take. We can build a truly internationalist, diverse and outward- looking Britain. Or we can turn inwards, and trade our principles, rights and standards to secure hastily arranged, one-sided, race-to-the-bottom trade deals with Donald Trump and others.” Speaking for the EU, michel Barnier expressed his sadness, while Donald Tusk said: “my dear British friends. We were, we are, and we will always be a community. And no Brexit will ever change that.” And so with a mix of jubilation, apprehension and sadness, the words spoken by David Dimbleby in the early hours of June 24, 2016 were now a reality. We were out.
Thousands gathered in Parliament Square to celebrate the UK’s departure from the EU
“The British people have spoken,” said the affable BBC anchorman, David Dimbleby, “and the answer is: we’re out.” This was just after 5am on the morning of Friday, June 24, 2016. In the end, it took three years, seven months, seven days and eighteen hours. It took three prime ministers. Two general elections. It took, shock-of-shocks, two hosts of the BBC’s Question Time. yes, dear old Dimbleby himself, who had chaired that veritable feast of Thursday- night verbal flagellation since 1994, left the hotseat a full year before Britain finally left the European Union. But it did happen. At 11pm on January 31, 2020, Britain ceased to be an EU country. The EU was now comprised of 27 member states rather than 28. And although, with a transition period in place, little else of substance had changed, there was no doubting the historic significance of the moment. Addressing the nation from Downing Street, the prime minister spoke of the dawn of a new era and the potential for meaningful and far reaching change: “This is not an end but a beginning. This is the moment the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act in our great national drama.”