THE European Parliament tonight brought the curtain down on Brexit after MEPs voted overwhelmingly to support the deal hammered out by Boris Johnson and his European counterparts last year. paving the way for Britain to leave the bloc on Friday.
During a tumultuous debate over its terms, Euro politicians displayed dramatically contrasting emotions as Brexit became a reality.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage celebrated the UK’s divorce, provoking pro-Europeans into an angry backlash that saw the debate’s chairwoman end his final speech early after 20 years in the EU Parliament.
Whereas veteran Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato burst into tears as she collapsed into her seat after an emotional final speech in the UK’s last major Brussels session.
The end of the vote brought a chorus of Auld Lang Syne as a show of support to departing Remainers from their pro-Brussels colleagues in the chamber.
It had emerged earlier that MEPs had sent round the lyrics and urged their colleagues to learn them ahead of the stunt.
A majority of British MEPs voted against the Brexit deal despite warnings from their colleagues that it could trigger an unwanted no-deal exit.
The Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and Green Party all opposed the pact.
Mr Johnson’s Conservatives and most of the Brexit Party opted to show their support for Britain’s orderly departure.
Of the deal, Mr Farage said: “I’m not particularly happy with the agreement but Boris has been remarkably bold in the last few months and Ms von der Leyen he’s made it clear he’s promised us there will be no level playing field and on that basis I wish him every success in the next round of negotiations.
“The most significant point is what happens at 11pm this Friday marks the point of no return. Once we’ve left we are never coming back and the rest frankly is detail. We’re going, we will be gone.”
Geoffrey Van Orden, leader of the Tory MEPs, said: “”As a fact of history, culture and geography, Britain will still be a European power, the leading European power in NATO, committed to the security of the democracies of the European continent, sharing many of the standpoints and aspirations of the nations of Europe; an independent, sovereign country with friendly relations with the EU – that’s the aim.
“We are leaving the institutions of the EU, the increasingly intrusive regulations, the politically-driven ambit of the European Court of Justice, and the insatiable appetite for more political integration with its distaste for national sovereignty. That’s the point – we feel the EU project has gone too far.”
The result of the final vote on the deal was 621 for and 49 against, with 13 refusing to vote at all.
Lucy Harris, an MEP who defected from the Brexit Party to the Tories, was spotted holding a bottle of Champagne aloft after the decision was announced.
British MEPs were showered with parting gifts for their service to the EU Parliament at a special reception held after the vote.
Each politician was handed a certificate, saying: “The European Parliament wishing to pay tribute to the British representatives of the Union’s citizens whose term of office is ending on January 31, 2020. Recognising that the Members of the European Parliament made a vital contribution to ensuring that the European Union achieves its aim of promoting peace, its values and the well-being of its people.”
They were also handed a book from the European House of History museum, which officials estimate to be worth around £33 (€40), with a special edition cover.
Some MEPs were spotted wearing football-style half-and-half scarves with the slogans “united in diversity” at the ceremony.
Talks on the future relationship are set to get underway in the coming months.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned Brussels will “firmly defend the interests of the Union and its member states”.
He added: “I would really and sincerely like to wish the UK well.”
Kindly LIKE and SHARE to celebrate BREXIT