BORIS Johnson tonight vowed to unleash the “full potential” of Brexit Britain and pledged “hope and opportunity” for the North.
Speaking less than an hour before the nation celebrates the historic EU exit, the Prime Minister promised to “level up” and improve the lives of everyone in Britain.
Read our Brexit day live blog for all the latest news and updates
In a landmark address on one of the biggest days in the nation’s history, Mr Johnson claimed Brexit would spark a glorious future for all.
He said: “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.
“This is the moment when we really begin to unite and level up.
“Defeating crime, transforming our NHS, and with better education, with superb technology.
“We will spread hope and opportunity to every part of the UK”.
The PM admitted there may be “bumps in the road ahead”, but insisted he knew Britain “will succeed”.
He continued: “I know that we can turn this opportunity into a stunning success.
“We have taken back the tools of self-government
“Now is the time to use those tools to unleash the full potential of this brilliant country and to make better the lives of everyone in every corner of our United Kingdom.”
It came as the PM dashed up to Sunderland to hold a special Cabinet briefing before heading back to London to host a Downing Street bash.
Things kicked off in Brussels, where the British flag has finally been taken down outside the European Parliament.
He and other Cabinet ministers will be making visits in the city which was the first to declare a Brexit vote back in 2016.
After three and a half years of wrangling, the PM posted a snap on Instagram this morning with the caption: “Today is the day.”
And he hailed the “dawn on a new era” this morning ahead of celebrations tonight at No10.
The PM earlier hosted a party for Downing Street staff.
On the menu was be English sparkling wine, shortbread with Shropshire blue cheese, fillet of lamb, crab cakes and beef Yorkshire puddings.
Home Secretary Priti Patel was snapped celebrating with a cake today, too.
She said: “It’s done. Today we will finally leave the EU. #BrexitDay.”
This morning she took part in a dramatic drawn raid as part of a county lines drug operation in Birmingham.
The Home Secretary watched on as one cop used a hammer to smash a front lounge window before officers piled in.
Meanwhile, EU bosses said both sides will have to “fight” for their interests in the upcoming EU talks.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen warned that unless Britain stays close to the bloc, it won’t be able to experience free trade.
She said earlier: “If they do not want to respect the rules and the standards of the single market, the more distant, of course, they will be.”
Brexit day: what’s going on?
- A new 50p Brexit coin is being released to mark the occasion
- Flags are flying down the Mall and outside Government buildings
- Downing Street and Whitehall will be lit up tonight
- Boris Johnson will address the nation at 10pm
- A huge party in Parliament square is expected later with Nigel Farage
- Remainers are planning vigils to express their sorrow
- Big Ben won’t ring but campaigners plan to play recordings of the bells
- At 11pm Britain will have formally left, paving the way for trade talks to begin