MEPs give consent to Withdrawal Agreement
In Brussels Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have overwhelmingly gave their terms of the UK’s departure from the EU.
MEPs ratified the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement by 621 votes to 49 following an debate highly charged with sentiments and vivid human emotions.
After the vote, MEPs marked the UK’s exit by singing Auld Lang Syne, is a Scots-language poem written by poet Robert Burns in 1788, and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world, its traditional use being to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations, and as a farewell or ending to other occasions.
Several British MEPs said they hoped the UK would return one day although Eurosceptics, including the Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage, used their final speeches to phrase the departure from the EU.
The UK is due to leave the bloc at 23:00 GMT on Friday. The Withdrawal agreement (WA) is expected to be signed off in Brussels later.
Some MEPs have marked the occasion with songs – others wore “always united” scarves. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen told the UK: “We will always love you.”
Ratification of the Withdrawal agreement, agreed by the UK and EU in October, was not in doubt after it easily cleared its committee stage last week.