Boris Johnson has signed the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement as Britain’s EU divorce edges closer.
The Prime Minister put pen to paper hours after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel signed the document that will allow Britain to quit the bloc on Friday.
He said: “The signing of the Withdrawal Agreement is a fantastic moment, which finally delivers the result of the 2016 referendum and brings to an end far too many years of argument and division.
“We can now move forward as one country – with a Government focused upon delivering better public services, greater opportunity and unleashing the potential of every corner of our brilliant United Kingdom, while building a strong new relationship with the EU as friends and sovereign equals.”
Mr Johnson signed the document in a room next to the Cabinet Room in Downing Street
He used a Parker fountain pen, as is traditional for ceremonial signings in No10.
The Withdrawal Agreement began its journey to Weatminster after being signed early on Friday in Brussels.
It was placed in a diplomatic bag and taken aboard Eurostar train bound for London St Pancras.
The document was “escorted by EU officials and UKREP (the UK’s representation in Brussels) officials”, No10 said.
They were later inside No10 to witness Mr Johnson put his name to the deal.
After being signed by the PM, it was sent back to Brussels where it will be archived along with other treaties.
The UK will receive three “certified” copies of the document, one of which will be held in the treaty section of the Foreign Office.
Whitehall sources suggested it was part of the deal that the original should remain in Brussels.
The agreement still needs to be approved by the European Parliament before Brexit Day, with a vote expected on Wednesday.
The Queen gave Royal Assent to the legislation for Boris Johnson’s pact on Thursday, paving the way for the UK to leave next week.
Meanwhile, the EU last night(FRI) named a Portuguese diplomat as its first ambassador to Britain.
Joao Vale de Almeida was previously the EU’s ambassador to the United Nations and the US.
He begins his new job on February 1 – hours after the UK formally leaves.