British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made a Brexit Day speech hailing the UK’s departure from the European Union as “astonishing moment of hope” that is “not an end but a beginning.”
In a message recorded by government officials and emailed to media in the final hours before Brexit, he described it as “potentially a moment of real national renewal and change.”
“This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act in our great national drama,” he said.
He said that, “for all its strengths and for all its admirable qualities, the EU has evolved over 50 years in a direction that no longer suits this country,” adding: “That is a judgment that you, the people, have now confirmed at the polls. Not once, but twice.”
The tone and message were markedly different from those of French President Emmanuel Macron, who offered words of reassurance for British citizens living in France and gave a rallying message for the European Union.
“We have obeyed the people,” Johnson said. “We have taken back the tools of self-government.”