LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would be respectful in his celebrations on Friday when Britain leaves the European Union, mindful that Brexit still divides the country.
“In common with everybody else, I will be making a dignified exit from the European Union,” he said during a live Facebook broadcast in which he answers questions submitted by members of the public.
Britain leaves the bloc at 2300 GMT - an event that is due to be marked with celebrations across the country - including outside parliament - but which will be lamented by many who voted against it in 2016 after a divisive referendum campaign.
“I’ll be celebrating in a way that I hope is respectful of the scale of the event, that does justice to the astonishing feat that Britain has accomplished, but also is mindful of everybody’s feelings about what we are doing,” Johnson said.
After three years of wrangling over whether Brexit should go ahead and how best to do it, Johnson has agreed a deal with the EU that will see Britain continue to abide by the bloc’s rules until the end of the year while a new longer-term relationship is thrashed out.
Johnson said he will address the country in a broadcast at 2200 GMT on Friday.
“It is a great moment for our country, it is a moment of hope and opportunity but it is also I think a moment for us to come together in a spirit of confidence,” he said.
Reporting by William James and Kylie Maclellan; editing by Stephen Addison