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by Kevin Schofield
31 January 2020
Boris Johnson hails 'dawn of a new era' as UK leaves the European Union

Boris Johnson No10 PA

Boris Johnson hails 'dawn of a new era' as UK leaves the European Union

Brexit will herald "the dawn of a new era" which will spread opportunity across the UK, according to Boris Johnson.

The Prime Minister will make the claim in an address to the nation at 10pm on Friday night - exactly one hour before the UK's official departure from the European Union.

He will say the historic moment marks a new beginning and pledge to re-unite the nation following the division of the last four years.

Speaking from 10 Downing Street, the PM will say: "Our job as the government – my job – is to bring this country together and take us forward.

"And the most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning. This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act. It is a moment of real national renewal and change.

"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 begin to unite and level up."

To mark Brexit Day, the Cabinet will hold a special meeting in Sunderland, the first city to declare for Brexit on the night of the 2016 referendum.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn pledged that Labour would fight any attempt by the Government to use Brexit as cover to reduce workers' rights and environmental standards.

He said: "Britain’s place in the world will change. The question is what direction we now take.

"We can work with other countries to develop trade, improve rights and protections, invest in our communities, tackle the threat of climate catastrophe, fight human rights abuses and promote peace.  We can build a truly internationalist, diverse and outward-looking Britain.

"Or we can turn inwards, and trade our principles, rights and standards to secure hastily arranged, one-sided, race-to-the-bottom trade deals with Donald Trump and others."

The Labour leader added: "We will hold the Government to account every step of the way: to ensure jobs and living standards, rights at work, and consumer and environmental standards are protected as part of whatever is negotiated with the EU, the US or any other country.

"We are determined to defend the gains we have made with others on these issues in the EU. And we will resist a toxic Trump deal that puts our NHS, food standards and jobs at risk.

"That choice of which path we take for a post-Brexit Britain now lies before us. As we leave the European Union, whatever side we took in the Brexit debate, we now need to bring the country together to shape our common future, work to rebuild and strengthen our communities, and eliminate poverty and injustice in our society."

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