Brexit: UK enters final hours before leaving the EU

After 11pm, Britain will immediately enter a transition arrangement with the EU, keeping it aligned with Brussels.

The countdown to Brexit is on as the UK enters the final hours before its departure from the European Union at 11pm.

Britain will immediately enter into a standstill transition arrangement with Brussels where it will stay aligned with EU rules, lasting until December 31, 2020.

In the next 11 months, the Prime Minister hopes to rapidly negotiate a trade deal with the EU that would take effect in 2021, once the transition is over.

Boris Johnson will address the nation at 10pm where he is expected to describe the UK’s withdrawal from the European bloc “as not an end but a beginning”.

Campaigners at Holyrood on Friday night.

He will add: “This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act.

“It is a moment of real national renewal and change.”

But pro-Remain candlelit vigils are planned across Scotland as part of a series of events marking Brexit day.

Scots voted to Remain by 62% in the 2016 referendum while the overall UK result was 52% to Leave.

Hundreds have gathered outside the building.

The Leave a Light On gatherings are taking place in Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Stirling as protesters send a message to the EU not to forget Scotland.

In Glasgow, pro-EU campaigners will gather at the Donald Dewar statue on Buchanan Street at 10.30pm.

SNP MPs Alison Thewliss, Alyn Smith, Philippa Whitford and Kirsten Oswald are expected to attend, along with Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie.

It comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made an announcement on independence earlier on Friday.

She accepted a referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future might not be held this year but refused to rule out attempting to hold a “consultative” ballot without Westminster’s consent, provided the courts ruled it legal.

Johnson refused her request for the transfer of powers from Westminster to Holyrood to hold such a vote earlier this month.

The Scottish Government is also marking Brexit day by launching a new paper covering its plans to continue working with the EU over the next five years.

Two government buildings, St Andrew’s House and Victoria Quay, will be lit in the blue and yellow colours of the European flag.

Europe’s flag will continue to fly at St Andrew’s House and Victoria Quay, as well as at Scotland House in Brussels and at the Scottish Parliament, after MSPs overturned a decision to take it down.