The UK has left the European Union’s single market and customs union as the Brexit saga enters a new chapter.
The United Kingdom has left the European Union’s economic and political orbit in an historic departure that has split Britons politically and marked the country’s greatest shift on the global stage in modern times.
The UK stopped following EU rules at 23:00 GMT, as replacement arrangements for travel, trade, immigration and security co-operation came into force.
“This is an amazing moment for this country,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in his New Year’s Eve message. “We have our freedom in our hands and it is up to us to make the most of it.”
UK ministers have warned there will be some disruption in the coming days and weeks, as new rules bed in and British firms come to terms with the changes.
But officials have insisted new border systems are “ready to go”.
That vote unleashed a political crisis in the UK that effectively ended the political careers of Johnson’s two predecessors, Theresa May and David Cameron, polarised the nation, saw a rise in xenophobia and soured relations with the bloc, its largest trading partner.
The exit from the European Union means The UK is free to pursue independent trade policies for the first time in more than four decades after the Brexit transition period with the European Union came to an end.
Membership of the single market and customs expired four and a half years after the in-out referendum which sought to settle the issue but sparked political turmoil.
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