Prime Minister, Boris Johnson gives a thumbs up gesture after signing the Brexit trade deal with the EU in number 10 Downing Street on December 30 – Leon Neal/Getty Images
After a bitter referendum, two general elections, three prime ministers and four and a half years of negotiations, Brexit was finally done on Dec 30 after a trade deal with Brussels was passed in parliament and given royal assent by the Queen.
Amid the Brexit transition period ending at 11 p.m. on Dec 31, we asked Telegraph readers how they were feeling on Brexit Eve. Were they jubilant at the beginning of a “new chapter” for “Global Britain”? Might they be apprehensive about the implications of Boris Johnson’s deal? Or are they simply relieved that Brexit has finally been achieved?
Read on for Telegraph readers’ reflections as the transition period comes to an end and share your view in the comments section below.
‘The best days as a nation lie before us’
Paul Collett, Southampton
“I am delighted to be leaving the European Union this evening. I would have been happy to leave with no deal, but I am reassured that with this deal we have regained our national sovereignty, which for me is the Pearl of Great Price.
“I love Europe and its constituent member countries but will not miss for one minute the bureaucratic interference of its undemocratic controlling institution. The EU showed itself in the worst light in the last days of its jurisdiction over us; revealing itself to be small minded, bullying and spiteful in its dealings with us.
“Despite the challenges arising from the pandemic I believe that our best days as a nation lie before us.”
‘I hope we will not be restricted by the level playing field’
Jeanette Beckenham, Hertfordshire
“I am so glad to be a sovereign country again, and be ruled by our own, who we can hold accountable.
“I voted for WTO terms and I hope we will thrive and not be restricted by the level playing field, and that promises for cheaper clothes and food will be achieved. I also hope we regain our fishing rights back and make fish more affordable.”
‘There will be difficulties, which will be overcome in time’
Roger Jones, Ledbury.
“I am pleased rather than jubilant, it’s been a long haul. That it has been a long haul can be laid at the door of certain politicians across the divide.
“There will be difficulties, and most of them will be overcome in time.”
‘I pray our Government will use our freedom wisely’
Lois Evans, Ceredigion
“I feel relieved and empowered. The British government needs to be fully prepared for 2026 when we take back full control of our fishing. It also needs to be vigilant against any attempt by the EU to claw back control over us.
“I pray for our government to have wisdom beyond its ability to use our freedom wisely. A financial services agreement is also urgent.”
Marilyn Llewellyn, Cardiff
“Boris has done a fantastic job and kept his promise. Here’s to a successful future free of the European Union. Rule Britannia!”
‘I will be toasting everyone who worked to get Brexit done’
Frank Mitchell, Warwickshire
“I shall be celebrating Brexit tonight with a pint of traditional Cotswolds beer. I will be toasting Boris and everybody who supported and worked to get Brexit done.”
‘My fear is Johnson has sacrificed the fishermen and Ulster’
Roland Brewer, Buckinghamshire
“I’m totally ecstatic that we’re at last free from the EU’s shackles. But, I remain somewhat dubious about our fishing rights and Northern Ireland being left in the customs union and a border in the Irish sea.
“My fear is that Johnson has sacrificed the fishermen and Ulster to get his deal over the line. I pray I’m wrong.”
‘I doubt anything will change’
“I don’t think this deal is good for Remainers or for Leavers. I think parliament lives in another world. Meanwhile in the real world the one that spins, Remainers think we have left the Leavers think we have remained. The truth is I doubt anything will change”
‘It’s the start of a new era for the UK’
Dom Lowe, Pensford
“It’s a relief and a release. Watching us being tied ever more closely to the EU over the decades has never sat comfortably with me.
“It’s good to be a part of Europe, but I think we’re far better off being independent from the financial and legal constraints of the EU.
“A new day tomorrow, a new year and the start of a new era for the UK.”
‘I hope we can put our divisions behind us’
“I feel relieved but not jubilant, I just hope we can put our divisions behind us as we carve out an exciting and free future for our country. Democracy has survived (just).”
‘There will be a toast in our house’
“I am relieved that we are leaving with a deal. I am also looking forward to Britain reestablishing itself as an independent nation with strong links with global economies including Europe.
“There will be a toast at 11 p.m. in our house.”
‘I am very optimistic for the next 10 years’
Simon Rounding, Yorkshire.
“I am slightly disappointed that we are leaving the EU with a deal. We would have had a better result by leaving on WTO terms and sorting mini deals thereafter. Our tariff take would have worked to our advantage and could have been used to soften the blow on parts of the economy that were adversely affected.
“I am feeling much more relaxed that sovereignty has been reinstated. Overall I am very optimistic for the next 10 years.”
‘This will be one of the three happiest days of my life’
Simon Holder, Wiltshire
“Even though l wanted to celebrate our leaving the EU tonight with several friends in person, and now cannot do so due to stricter Covid rules, this will be one of the three happiest days of my life: Margaret Thatcher’s accession in 1979, my marriage day, and this, for which l have hoped for for over 40 years when l began to realise what the EU truly was. Rejoice!”
‘We will be celebrating with the English sparkling stuff’
David and Wendy Jones, Birmingham
“We are weary, fraught but finally, exceptionally happy that we’re free at last.
“This will be a day that we’ve looked forward to for almost 30 years, since the goalposts were moved at Maastricht.
“We know there will still be difficult times ahead but we shall be celebrating this moment with English sparkling stuff.”
‘I will be renewing my passport, even with seven years left on it’
“I am absolutely jubilant. I like the deal apart from fishing, the EU should only have a maximum of 25 per cent of the fish caught in UK waters, not 75 per cent.
“I am surprised at the 73 MPs who preferred no deal to Boris’s Deal. I will now renew my passport, even with seven years left on it.”
‘We need to make use of our ability to diverge’
Helena Watson, Kingston upon Thames
“I am delighted and relieved about the deal, and full of admiration for the Tory Spartans both now and for what they did to stop Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement going through.
“They are my heroes, especially Bill Cash: I trust them on their close reading of the deal.
“Nevertheless, there is a lot of work to be done to make use of our new ability to diverge.”