Today’s main events to mark Brexit Day
Parties, protests and new coins planned as Britain leaves the European Union
British MEPs have bid their farewells, the Union Flags have been hoisted and Nigel Farage is preparing to party in Parliament Square as Brexit Day kicks off.
Britain’s official departure from the EU dominates this morning’s newspaper headlines, with the Daily Mail heralding this “momentous day” as a “new dawn for Britain”, and the Daily Express cheering “yes, we did it!”, while The Guardian braces for “the biggest gamble in a generation”.
Whether you’re a Leaver or a Remainer, here is our pick of the events planned nationwide to mark this historic date.
Boris Johnson speech
The prime minister will say that Brexit means “not an end but a beginning” as he addresses the nation in a pre-recorded video to be released at 10pm - an hour before the UK quits the bloc. Johnson will urge the country to “come together and move forward united, unleashing the enormous potential of the British people”.
As Johnson’s speech is screened nationwide, a clock will be projected onto Downing Street buildings to mark the exact moment of Britain’s departure.
When the clock hands hit 11pm, the black bricks of No. 10 will be illuminated by a light show that is “intended to symbolise the strength and unity of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland”, City A.M. reports.
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Leave Means Leave party
Nigel Farage and the anti-EU Leave Means Leave campaign group are hosting a rally in Parliament Square between 9pm and 11.15pm. The celebrations will include light shows, music and speeches by high-profile Brexiteers including Ann Widdecombe, Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin and broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer.
50p coin rollout
Around three million commemorative Brexit coins will enter circulation around the UK today, with a further seven million expected to follow later this year.
The 50p coins are inscribed with the exit date and the words “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations” - though the lack of an Oxford comma in this motto has caused controversy.
Boris Johnson will be the first to receive one of the coins, but The Sun is giving away 100 in a Brexit Day competition for its readers.
London Eye protest
Of course, not everyone is pleased that Britain is leaving the EU. Demonstrators carrying torches will gather on the South Bank in London this evening for a protest headlined “Shine through the darkness”. Similar demos are planned in towns and cities nationwide, including Brighton and Bournemouth.
London Is Open
The capital’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, is today opening the doors of City Hall to offer European Londoners emotional support and free advice on the EU Settlement Scheme from immigration lawyers.