Great Britain

Brexit LIVE: ‘Historic moment’ UK legally FINISHED with EU as Raab signs landmark document

The former Brexit Secretary last night signed the formal document ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement, thus fulfilling the UK’s legal obligations ahead of ‘Brexit Day’ on Friday. Mr Raab said: “Signing the instrument of ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement is an historic moment that will legally bring an end to our membership of the European Union. It is the start of a new chapter for an independent, sovereign Britain, looking forward to a decade of renewal and opportunity.”

MEPs will gather in Brussels this afternoon to formally approve the Withdrawal Agreement, rubber stamping the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU.

The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt will open the debate, and MEPs will vote at around 5pm to approve the Withdrawal Agreement - more than three-and-a-half years after Britain voted to leave the EU.

This will mark the last big parliamentary moment for Brexit following months of wrangling and bickering throughout the bloc.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator will also be meeting a group of EU27 ambassadors in the Belgian capital this morning to provide them with a private briefing on his mandate for the crunch forthcoming trade and security talks with the UK.

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8.37am update: Scottish ministers to decide if EU flag should remain flying at parliament after Brexit

In addition ti voting on the new motion for a second Scottish independence referendum, MSPs will also decide whether the European flag should remain flying at Holyrood when the UK leaves the EU in two days’ time.

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body originally agreed that the flag should be lowered at 11pm on Friday, but this was met by strong rejection from ministers.

8.30am update: Nicola Sturgeon urges MSPs to back ‘fundamental principle’ of independence vote

Nicola Sturgeon will insist that Scotland has "the right to choose its own future" when she urges urges MSPs to back her plans for a second independence referendum to be held this year.

Scotland’s First Minister will argue her government has a "clear mandate" for a such a vote - two days before the UK is formally due to leave the European Union.

The Scottish Government says this marks a with the Scottish Government saying this marks a "material change in circumstances" from the referendum in 204, when Scotland voted to remain as part of the UK.

Ahead of Brexit, Ms Sturgeon will argue that independence could give Scots an alternative future in which they could still be part of Europe.

Boris Johnson has rejected calls from the First Minister for Holyrood to have the power to hold a second referendum.

But the new motion from the Scottish Parliament, which could be passed with the backing of SNP MSPs and the Greens, calls for the UK Government to reach an agreement with Scottish ministers "on such a referendum taking place on a date and in a manner determined by the Scottish Parliament".