Brexiteers and now-former Brexit Party MEPs spoke to Express.co.uk as Britain ushered in a new era outside of the Brussels trading bloc. The celebrations saw Brexit firebrands Nigel Farage and Ann Widdecombe issue passionate speeches to the assembled crowd as Downing Street held a special light show to mark the historic day. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson gave an address to the nation in a pre-recorded message posted on his Facebook page, in which he lauded a “new dawn” for “global Britain”.
Speaking to Express.co.uk in Parliament Square, where a large party was taking place, pro-Brexit Britons could barely contain their enthusiasm.
The Brexiteers celebrating the UK’s departure from the European Union were joined by former Brexit Party MEPs Claire Fox, David Bull and Ben Habib.
81-year-old retiree Barry Cairn was staunch in his support for Brexit, thanking both Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson for their role in implementing it.
He told Express.co.uk: “We have been shackled to the EU ever since 1973. I am pleased to get out. At times I just never thought it would get to this evening. But thank you, Boris Johnson, and thank you, Nigel Farage.”
Farmer Jim Matthews, 47, argued Brexit would allow the UK to return to a better “state of being”.
He said: “This is just a return to what is a more optimal more natural state of being.
“I think this a good thing. And I think it is only the beginning.”
Wrapped in a Union Jack flag, mental health worker Kate Marshall, 48, was unequivocal in her optimism.
She said: “We were great before. We will be great again.”
He said: “We have got to properly Brexit. That is the next task: to make sure we really get a proper deal.”
Meanwhile, former Brexit Party MEP Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, who recalled he had been campaigning on this issue for more than 40 years, was pleased his hard work had paid off.
He said: “It has finally come to fusion and that is really great.”
And Claire Fox, also of the Brexit Party, argued the decision was about “freedom and principles”.
She said: “This is about freedom and principles, and popular sovereignty and I am so pleased we have got it!”
Additional reporting and videography by Lydia O’Malley