A new era has begun for the United Kingdom after it completed its formal separation from the European Union. The UK stopped following EU rules at 23:00 GMT, as replacement arrangements for travel, trade, immigration and security co-operation came into force.
Boris Johnson said the UK had “freedom in our hands” and the ability to do things “differently and better” now the long Brexit process was over. But opponents of leaving the EU maintain the country will be worse off. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose ambition it is to take an independent Scotland back into the EU, tweeted: “Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on.”
BBC Europe editor Katya Adler said there was a sense of relief in Brussels that the Brexit process was over, “but there is regret still at Brexit itself”. The first lorries arriving at the borders entered the UK and EU without delay. But the Stena Line ferries and ports group tweeted that six freight loads travelling from Holyhead in Wales to Ireland on Friday morning had to be turned away due to not having the correct paperwork.
UK ministers have warned there will be some disruption in the coming days and weeks, as new rules bed in and British firms come to terms with the changes. But officials have insisted new border systems are “ready to go”.