In 1973, following initial rejection by France, Great Britain joined the European Community, more commonly known as the Common Market.
Subsequently, the Common Market changed dramatically, altered its name to the European Union (the EU) and became the subject of widespread criticism and debate. Forty three years on from the year of joining, at the instigation of Prime Minister David Cameron, a referendum was held on 23rd June 2016, to determine whether Britain would remain in or leave the EU. To general surprise, the referendum was won by Leave, with 52% of the vote.
Three years later, after massive political anguish, two elections, and two changes of Prime Minister, the Country formally left the EU, at 11 pm on Friday 31st January 2020.
This historic event was celebrated at Parliament Square where hundreds gathered to cheer the moment of departure, and listen to rousing speeches by Brexit party MEP Ann Widdecombe, Weatherspoon founder Tim Martin, broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer, Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice and, above all, UKIP and Brexit party founder, Nigel Farage.
The event in Parliament Square was good natured, mildly loony and emotional, enlivened by patriotic songs including Rule Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory, and the National Anthem. But no fireworks, no alcohol, and a remarkably modest police presence.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a speech on television referring to Brexit as a New Dawn and the moment for the country to come together and move forward.
Friday 31st January 2020. Copyright Photographs by Andrew Lyndon-Skeggs of ANLS Photography. www.anlsphotography.photoshelter.com