Countdown to Brexit: Britons celebrate with street parties and pub crawls as UK marks ‘the dawn of a new era’ tonight… but not everyone is hanging out the bunting as Remainers stage last-ditch protests
- From Cornwall to Yorkshire and Newcastle, plans are in place for gatherings in pubs and at town halls tonight
- Clocks are set to ring out across the country, in churches, train stations and town halls as Britain leaves the EU
- Party organisers say they’re celebrating the ‘bright new future’ of independence at events across the country
- **Are you having a Brexit Day party this evening? Send your pictures to [email protected]lonline.co.uk**
With just hours to go until the country leaves the European Union, Britons up and down the country are preparing to celebrate in style – with street parties and pub crawls organised to mark the historic occasion this evening.
From Cornwall to Yorkshire and Newcastle, plans are in place for celebrations in pubs, at town halls and in people’s homes as Britain finally prepares to leave the European Union more than three years after the referendum.
In the capital, buildings around Whitehall will be illuminated and the Union Jack flag will fly on every flag pole in Parliament Square ahead of a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ party as Britain officially leaves the bloc at 11pm.
Across the country clocks will ring out to mark the country’s departure, as thousands across the United Kingdom prepare celebrate the ‘bright new future’ that independence from the European Union will bring.
As the historic moment arrives, excited revellers have been posting images of themselves on social media with many using the #BrexitDay hashtag to share snapshots of their celebrations.
While others have donned their most British attire to gather in villages, towns and cities across the country to herald in a new era for Great Britain after nearly four years of turmoil.
In London, hundreds are expected to gather in Parliament Square this evening for a a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ party. Proceedings will start at 9pm and end shortly after the UK leaves the EU at 11pm (pictured, some have already started to arrive)
Pro Brexit supporters wear novelty Union Jack top hats outside the Houses of Parliament as people prepare for Brexit this evening. A handful of speakers have been confirmed for Parliament Square party this evening, including Nigel Farage, Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice and Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe
A man carries a flag of St George, the English national flag, along with a Union Flag as he walks along Westminster Bridge by the Houses of Parliament in London. Workers were also busy this afternoon putting up Union flags around the square and along The Mall, ready for the celebrations
Others have posted cakes to mark Britain’s exit from the European Union. Amy Swift said: ‘Well I’m guess if my colleagues didn’t know I’m a leaver, they sure as hell do now’
Writing on Instagram, one Brexiteer quoted a popular song: ‘It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day and I’m feeling good’. She is among many sharing images using the #BrexitDay hashtag
Social media is abuzz with people sharing images of themselves marking Brexit Day, with many draping Union Jacks over themselves in celebration
Remainers are scrawling ‘I love EU’ on coins with permanent marker in ‘infantile’ last-ditch attempt to anger Brexit voters
Remainers are scrawling ‘I love EU’ on 50p coins with permanent marker and releasing them back into circulation, in a last-ditch attempt to anger Brexit voters.
Karen Hoyles, from Devon, posted pictures of her defaced coins online, calling for others to follow suit.
The picture posted to Twitter by Karen Hoyles, showing a 50p coin with a heart and ‘EU’ scrawled on it in permanent marker, in an attempt to anger Brexit voters
In an appeal to her Twitter followers, she hoped for people to ‘get their creative juices flowing’ and release ’10million’ 50ps with the phrase.
Another apparent Remain supporter, Nigel Callaghan, claimed to have found two defaced 50ps, a pound and a two pound coin in his ‘change’.
Mr Callaghan appeared to sarcastically say it might have been ‘treason’ if the Queen’s face had been drawn on while also outlining how people could write on coins with a Sharpie.
The protest comes as Royal Mint announced its release of a special edition gold Brexit 50p coin, which can be purchased for £945 by those wishing to commemorate the occasion.
Not everyone is celebrating however, with vigils planned by pro-EU supporters and flares let off in London as disgruntled Remainers vent their frustration at Britain’s eventual departure from the bloc.
But for many, today is a turning point after political stagnation and delay. On what will be a special moment for many, one thrilled Briton claims he’ll finally crack open a bottle of Scotch he’s had saved for 25 years after waiting for just the ‘right time’, while pubs are offering up free British grub to celebrate local produce.
Party organisers claim the country is finally ‘moving forward’ and this evening’s celebrations will be about ‘bringing people together’ as they celebrate a ‘piece of British History’ with raffles, tribute acts and discos.
Those organising events up and down the country and keen to make everyone feel included in this evening’s entertainment – designed to mark Britain’s departure from the European Union at exactly 11pm.
Ray Singleton, 72, is organising a Brexit celebration event at his men’s club in Stapleford, Nottingham. He told MailOnline that he had decided to organise the event around two weeks ago and it is about ‘bringing people together’.
‘The reason we are celebrating is because it’s a piece of British History. It is not a celebration to say we won, you lost, its about bringing people together and to go forward together.
‘The overwhelming sentiment of our Members, whichever side of the divide they are on, are just pleased its done, the political infighting has finished and we are moving forward. We hope our little event will go some way to achieve those aims.’
Explaining what entertainment will be on offer, he said: ‘We will be having a Disco/Karaoke, plus a special guest who’s act specialises in Vera Lynn tributes, and she will be serenading us with Land of Hope & Glory plus a few other old classics at around 11pm.
‘We are serving free food and we have reduced our bar prices to £2 a pint and spirits to £1 a shot to help with the celebrations.’
The celebrations have caused quite a ‘media frenzy’, Mr Singleton explains. Yesterday we did interviews for BBC Radio 4, which will be broadcast today. Radio Nottingham will be doing a Live link from the Club at 10.30pm.
‘East Midlands News are sending a camera crew to the Club today to do interviews and to film the celebrations. Additionally, Broxtowe’s newly elected MP, Darren Henry has accepted our invitation to join in the fun, so a very busy day for all concerned.’
Bill Bailey, the landlord of the Cricketers in Westbourne, West Sussex, – who is also organising a Brexit Party – said celebrations had been a long time coming however.
‘This has been so long waiting for this to come to a close. I think which ever way you voted it’s been a lot of money spent on the whole thing which could have been used elsewhere. So what ever the outcome you wanted let’s just embrace it and move forward for Britain.
He added: ‘We are have our party with live music free Yorkshire puddings with beef in just for a beer soaker as one does we here are all looking forward to a new Britain.’
Government buildings will be lit up in the red, white and blue of the Union Jack. Millions of commemorative 50 pence coins go into circulation (pictured, a Brexit supporter in Parliament Square today)
Ex-MEP Nigel Farage, who has spent decades campaigning to leave the EU, is planning a large rally in nearby Parliament Square – one of several pro-Brexit parties being held around the country (pictured, a man holding an England flag in Parliament Square today)
Bill Bailey (pictured), the landlord of the Cricketers in Westbourne, West Sussex, – who is also organising a Brexit Party – said celebrations had been a long time coming
A hair salon in Manchester said it was giving all its clients a glass of English sparkling wine to celebrate or commiserate Brexit Day
Steve Unwin, a former UKIP parliamentary candidate, said he’d been keeping a bottle of whisky for the ‘right time’. And he’s decided that this evening, as Britain leaves the EU, is the perfect time to crack it open
Facebook events have been set up for Brexit celebrations across the country. In Plymouth, organisers have titled their celebrations ‘an escape from the EU’ sharing an image of Spitfires, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Union Jacks to sell their event to the local populus
Elsewhere, in Essex and in Hampshire, events will be taking place this evening to mark Britain’s departure from the European Union
Others decided today was a good opportunity to celebrate British products, including locally sourced beer and meat
Hundreds of Brexit parties have been organised up and down the country, with Facebook events set up to advertise gatherings (pictured, just some of the events set up to celebrate Britain’s departure from the EU)
Ahead of this evening’s celebrations, one person said they were enjoying a champagne breakfast for Brexit Day
Remain group hijacks White Cliffs of Dover to air farewell to Europe video
A controversial anti-Brexit group hijacked the White Cliffs of Dover before dawn today and beamed a pro-EU film in English, French and German on to its famous chalk face to display a 32,000 sq ft ‘message to Europe’ that Britain will rejoin the bloc ‘before long’.
Protest group Led by Donkeys filmed two Second World War veterans called Sid Daw, aged 95, and 97-year-old Brigadier Stephen Goodall, who both describe their grief as the UK leaves the EU at 11pm tonight.
Mr Daw, who fought as a sniper in the Second World War, says of the EU: ‘We want to be together and we will be together before long, I’m sure’
The guerrilla video, apparently projected from a boat below the cliffs, ends with the stars on the EU flag slowly disappearing – with just one star remaining, the line reads: ‘This is our star. Look after it for us.’
95-year-old Sid Daw, who was a sniper for the Allies, introduces the video and says: ‘This is a message from the White Cliffs of Dover, from Britain’. Mr Daw, from Cardiff, fought in France, Holland, Belgium and Germany during the conflict.
He says: ‘First of all, I’m Welsh, and I’m British, and I’m European and I’m a human being. I feel very, very sad about it all because we don’t know which way things are going.’
Appealing to fellow Europeans on the Continent, he said: ‘Look from your side to this side, see these white cliffs, and we’re looking across at you feeling we want to be together and we will be together before long, I’m sure.’
The UK’s most Eurosceptic town is set to celebrate ‘long into the night’ as the country leaves the European Union.
People in Boston, Lincolnshire, were in high spirits on Friday – saying they expected ‘plenty of parties’ when the bonds are officially broken at 11pm.
In the 2016 referendum, 75.6% of people in Boston voted to leave the EU – the highest in the UK.
Despite the party atmosphere, some residents said they would not be satisfied unless the Government ‘continue to keep to their word’.
One resident, Brian Shaw, 76, said it was a landmark day for the country and he ‘cannot wait to stop being ruled by the EU’.
He said: ‘I’m very pleased. I’ve voted Labour all my life until this time when I voted Conservative because I knew they would get it through.
‘I don’t like the Conservatives, but they did what I wanted them to do.
‘A friend of mine has got a Union Jack ready to put on his house at 11pm tonight.
‘I’m usually in bed at 10pm but I shall stay up tonight – I’ll be celebrating long into the night, I’ve got the beer ready.
‘There will certainly be plenty of parties around here – I think people are just fed up with immigration.
‘I cannot wait to stop being ruled by the EU.’
In the town’s Wetherspoons pub, salesmen Jason Chambers, 37, Paul Burrell, 44, and Lee Blackbourn, also 44, had bought a bottle of champagne to toast the occasion.
Mr Chambers told PA: ‘The champagne is a toast to Brexit and to the country getting back on its feet.’
Asked if they would be celebrating into the night, Mr Burrell said: ‘We’ll see what happens, we’ve got work tomorrow.’
Mr Chambers added: ‘We can’t do too much, we struggle to earn a crust in this town.’
Another resident, Dean Smith, 59, said he was pleased the UK was officially leaving, but said he would only be happy if the Government ‘keep their word’.
He told PA: ‘Brexit is obviously a good thing. It could be the way this town gets back on its feet.
‘But I’ll only be satisfied if the Government continues to keep their word and follows through with what they said they were going to do.’
Elsewhere, in Redcar, North Yorkshire, some have even decided to organise a Brexit themed barbecue celebrating all things British.
The event description reads: ‘Bring a BBQ and help cook off away from the EU by grilling home grown produce. Support our British farmers and merchants by brining British beef, pork or lamb and a choice of British beers.’
And in Plymouth, organisers have titled their celebrations ‘an escape from the EU’ sharing an image of Spitfires, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Union Jacks to sell their event to the local populus.
The event description reads: ‘Its time to celebrate this historic moment in life and wave goodbye to the Europe after all these years of waiting. We can finally celebrate our national Independence Day.
‘Everyone is to meet and bring as many flags as you want and celebrate with a bang. Wrap up warm it will be a cold one but feel free to bring any old EU flags that are no longer required.
‘Of course if your bringing alcohol then please be sensible and enjoy your selfs in respectful manner.’
Not everyone is celebrating, with vigils planned by pro-EU supporters (pictured, Remainers hold placards at Parliament Square)
A pro EU banner is dropped from Westminster Bridge ahead of the UK’s formal exit from the EU this evening
Pro EU supporters let off flares from Westminster Bridge by the London Eye as people prepare for Brexit
Clocks will ring out across the country to mark Britain’s departure from the European Union. This will include at Temple Meads Railways Station in Bristol, St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle and Manchester City’s Victorian Town Hall.
Downing Street will be illuminated with a ‘countdown clock’ intended to symbolise the strength and unity of England, Scotland, Wales Northern Ireland, and a light show in Downing Street at 11pm will mark the actual moment when Britain will split from the EU.
Earlier this month, the House of Commons Commission killed off the idea of Big Ben bonging for Brexit, claiming it would cost more than £500,000 to interrupt huge repair works now under way on the clock and the historic Elizabeth Tower that houses it.
Buildings around Whitehall will also be illuminated and the Union Jack flag will fly on every flag pole in Parliament Square.
Just a matter of yards away at Parliament Square outside the Palace of Westminster, Brexiteers led by Nigel Farage will hold their own party.
The Leave Means Leave event promised to feature numerous speakers – but it seems live music, alcohol and fireworks have been banned.
Those who have resigned themselves to Brexit shared small messages of support, and posted images of the European colours. Angela said: ‘I’m not going to mourn Brexit Day, nor celebrate. I’m feeling defiant and determined, so I will be wearing the boots which I created for the anti-Brexit protests’
Julie McGuigan, who said she felt sad at Britain’s departure from the EU, has shared an image of some European themed cupcakes she baked as ‘an act of defiance’
Louise Rowntree, who is also upset at Britain’s departure from the EU, shared an image of the Flag of Europe which she said had been left outside her child’s French school
Another shared an image of herself holding a ‘keep calm and carry on’ mug ahead of Brexit this evening
Scheduled to speak are JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin, broadcasters Julia Hartley-Brewer and Michelle Dewberry, MEP Ann Widdecombe, Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice and of course, Mr Brexit himself, Nigel Farage.
The festivities start at 9pm and end at 11pm with a recommended minimum donation of £10 to join. There will also be events in Brussels to mark the occasion.
City authorities organised a so-called ‘Brussels Calling’ event this evening to underline the Belgian capital’s long friendship with the UK.
Not everyone has expressed enthusiasm for Britain’s departure however, with others sharing images of the Flag of Europe and some posting pictures of themselves sporting European branded clothing.
Sharing an image of the European Flag, Louise Rowntree, from London, thanked those who had hung it from the window of their house. While another clasped a ‘keep calm and carry on’ mug as thousands prepare to mark Brexit.
And as well as the hundreds of Brexit events organised up and down the country, there are also several events designed for people to ‘drown their sorrows’ following the tight 2016 referendum.
In London, Nigel Farage has organised a Brexit party in Parliament Square, and despite a ban on booze, live music and fireworks he insists it will be a stellar event.
Many will tune into Boris Johnson’s address during celebrations this evening. In an address to be broadcast shortly before Britain’s departure at 11pm, the Prime Minister will insist that Brexit marks ‘not an end but a beginning’.
Others wore wristbands celebrating the European Union as the country prepares to exit this evening
While some covered up their windows with The Flag of Europe as the country prepares to say goodbye to the European Union this evening
Great British Apples are handed out in Parliament Square as people prepare for Brexit today
And in a sign of the new Government’s changed approach, he will convene a symbolic Cabinet meeting this afternoon in Sunderland, the first city to declare for Brexit when the 2016 referendum results came out.
Tonight he will stress his belief that the referendum was a vote not just to leave the EU, but also for lasting change in neglected areas of the country. Mr Johnson will describe Brexit as ‘the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act’.
He will go on: ‘It is a moment of real national renewal and change. 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.’
At 11pm – midnight on the Continent – Britain will legally leave the EU and enter a ‘transition period’ which runs until December 31. During this time the UK will remain subject to EU laws and free movement of people will continue.
On Monday Mr Johnson will deliver a major speech setting out his approach to the Brexit talks as well as detailing his plans for a period of national renewal.
Sources said he would be ‘very frank’ about his aims for the negotiations with Brussels and his determination to allow Britain to ‘diverge’ from EU rules, even if that means the introduction of some trade barriers.
The moment of Brexit will be marked with celebrations in London. Union flags have been put up along The Mall towards Buckingham Palace
Britain’s MEPs left the European Parliament for the final time today. Brexit Party MEPs took part in a march out of the building this morning carrying a banner reading ‘Brexodus Express’
Mr Johnson will also warn that failure to strike a trade deal by the end of the year would lead to the introduction of tariffs on goods entering from the EU, such as German cars, French cheese and Italian wines.
One government source said: ‘Theresa May made two crucial mistakes – she wasn’t clear about what she wanted, and she wasn’t clear that she was prepared to leave with or without a deal.
‘We are not going to make those mistakes. We want a good free trade deal, without alignment, but we are prepared to leave without one if we have to.’
Mr Johnson will also reject calls for the EU to be given automatic rights to UK fishing grounds – and for the European Court of Justice to be the arbiter of disputes arising from a new trade deal.
Mr Johnson has ordered only low key events to mark Britain’s departure tonight. Union flags have been put up in The Mall and around Parliament Square and there will be a countdown clock and light show in Downing Street.
A Number 10 spokesman said the Prime Minister would ‘celebrate Brexit’ with a small party for staff.
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