LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom leaves the European Union at 2300 GMT on Friday, ending its 47-year membership of the world’s biggest trading bloc.
Reactions from leaders in Britain, and from around the world, were a mix of joy, resolve, sadness and resignation.
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON
“Our job as the government – my job – is to bring this country together and take us forward,” Johnson said in a statement.
“And the most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning. This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act. It is a moment of real national renewal and change.”
FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON, IN ADDRESS TO FRENCH CITIZENS
“I remember how much the 2016 (referendum) was made up of lies, exaggeration and simplification, of cheques that were written but will never be honoured… Between France and the United Kingdom there is a long history, founded on blood, freedom, courage, on battles that we have shared… This is a sad day, there’s no hiding it. But it’s also a day which should prompt us to proceed in a different way. To build with more determination a European Union that is powerful, effective, which you find more convincing and which rediscovers the historical path that makes this European Union a unique and, in my eyes, irreplaceable adventure.”
FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY
“At 11 pm tonight, Britain will leave the European Union. After more than three years, we can finally say that we have delivered on the result of the 2016 referendum and have kept faith with the British people.”
BRITISH OPPOSITION LABOUR LEADER JEREMY CORBYN
“Britain’s place in the world will change.