Brexit day: Week ahead brings countdown to UK’s departure from the EU

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to get Brexit done. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to get Brexit done. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

With the UK set to leave the EU in just a matter of days. Laura Reid looks ahead to the week in which Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to make good on his pledge to ‘get Brexit done’.

BREXIT

With his promise to ‘get Brexit done’, Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson secured a huge majority in last month’s General Election, taking nine seats off Labour in Yorkshire alone.

And this week the Prime Minister is due to make good on that pledge, with the UK set to depart the European Union at 11pm on Friday, January 31, more than three and a half years after the country voted to leave in the 2016 referendum.

Mr Johnson claimed the UK had “crossed the Brexit finish line” after Parliament passed legislation implementing the withdrawal agreement last week.

The Queen has approved it, the heads of the European Commission and Council have signed it, and on Wednesday, MEPs in the European Parliament are scheduled to vote on the deal.

So-called Brexit Day on Friday will be marked with a Leave Means Leave celebration whilst there are also plans for a Downing Street light show, Union Jack flags to fly in Parliament Square and for a commemorative Brexit coin to come into circulation.

Cabinet meeting to be held in the North to mark Brexit day
But there is still much work to be done. Assuming the European Parliament also gives the green light, and the UK formally leaves with a deal, Friday will mark the start of an 11-month transition period, before the final break with Brussels at the end of the year.

And one the key priorities for Mr Johnson over the coming months will be to negotiate a trade deal.

Meanwhile, also in politics, the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party continues, with a hustings due to be held in Bristol on Saturday.

When one candidate eventually emerges victorious on April 4, they will have the tough task of bringing the part back from one of its worst electoral defeats.

HOLOCAUST

Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War, freeing those who had been held under the Nazi regime.

Around 200 Holocaust survivors from the US, Canada, Australia and countries across Europe are expected to visit the Auschwitz Memorial for a commemorative event.

In the UK, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are due to attend a Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony in London.

Held every year on January 27, the memorial day encourages remembrance of the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Auschwitz 75th anniversary exposes hatred and intolerance in the human heart as Prince Charles speaks out
The theme for 2020 is Stand Together and explores how regimes have fractured societies by marginalising certain groups and how such tactics can be challenged by people coming together to speak out against oppression.

FILM

It’s due to be a week of prizegiving when it comes to film with the 40th London Critics’ Circle Film Awards and the British Academy Film Awards both being held over the coming days.

The former, to be held in the capital on Thursday, will see the creators of Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep receive a special honour, whilst acclaimed writer and director Sally Potter and Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell will also be recognised.

The film Baftas will be hosted on Sunday by Graham Norton at the Royal Albert Hall. A total of 39 films received nominations for the awards, which recognise the best of film in the past year.

The Joker has 11 nominations, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has three and Frozen 2, Toy Story 4, Knives Out and The Lion King are among those feature films with one nomination.