When Brexiteers buy a drink to toast Britain’s belated departure from the European Union later this week, they will be able to pay for it using a special celebratory coin minted for the occasion.
More than three million new 50p coins will enter circulation on Friday morning, bearing the inscription ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations’.
And Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a special meeting of the Cabinet in the North of England as part of the January 31 commemorations – before launching a ‘Ready to Trade’ campaign on Saturday in 17 cities across 13 non-EU nations in a post-Brexit trade blitz.
B-Day: Westminster will be at the heart of Brexit celebrations on Friday, which will also see a new 50p enter circulation in the morning as part of the January 31 commemorations
The new 50p coins will bear the inscription ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations’. Boris Johnson will also hold a special meeting of the Cabinet in the North of England
Announcing the plans, Mr Johnson struck a unifying tone by saying: ‘No matter how you voted in 2016, it is the time to look ahead with confidence to the global, trail-blazing country we will become over the next decade and heal past divisions.
‘That is what I will be doing on January 31 and I urge everyone across the UK to do the same.’
The delay to Brexit, which was originally set for March 2019, meant that a million of the original commemorative coins had to be melted down last year.
Chancellor Sajid Javid, who is also Master of the Mint, will present one of the new coins to Mr Johnson this week.
A further seven million will be released into circulation later this year when the Royal Mint will open its doors for 24 hours to let people strike their own commemorative Brexit coins.
With the Government insisting it wants a subdued, non-triumphalist approach to Brexit Day, Mr Johnson will host a ‘People’s PMQs’ [Prime Minister’s Questions] on Wednesday and children will be invited to Downing Street on Thursday, so they can ask Mr Johnson questions about the future he intends to build for the next generation.
He will address the nation on Friday at 10pm, as a clock projected on to No 10 Downing Street counts down to the moment of Brexit itself at 11pm – midnight in Brussels – amid a commemorative light display ‘symbolising the strength and unity of our four nations’.
Union Jacks will also line Parliament Square in London, while government buildings in Whitehall will be lit up red, white and blue throughout the evening.
Parliament Square will also be the scene of a celebration organised by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, with God Save The Queen performed by a band at 11pm. Mr Farage said last night: ‘It will be celebratory. There will be music and singing. It will be a good-natured, upbeat, optimistic genuine celebration with no direct political edge whatsoever.’
Ardent Brexiteer Tory MP Mark Francois, who will also be attending, said: ‘I’m not going to bed. I’m going to stay and watch the sun rise on a free country.’
Chancellor Sajid Javid (pictured above), who is also Master of the Mint, will present one of the new coins to Mr Johnson this week
Other events are planned in Warrington, Doncaster and Surrey Heath, while Kettering MP Philip Hollobone says he will join a ‘good old knees-up’ at his local pub.
For those looking for a more up-market celebration, The Bow Group think tank is selling £90 tickets for a three-course dinner with the original Maastricht rebels from John Major’s 1990-97 Government. Former Cabinet minister Sir John Redwood has been booked as the guest of honour.
In addition, the pub chain Wetherspoon is cutting the price of a number of European drinks to mark Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, following 47 years as a member.
Its ‘Let’s stay friends’ promotion offers customers around 60p off ten drinks that originate from Europe and the UK, including Spanish Estrella Galicia, German Beck’s, Italian Peroni, Polish Tyskie and Jameson Irish whiskey.
Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: ‘Many of our customers are keen to celebrate Brexit. At the same time, we want to remain friends with our European neighbours and offer a range of drinks at an excellent price.’
Higher up the drinks market, the French company Gold Emotion is selling Brexit Day sparkling rosé for £148. Its bottle of Pinot Noir is engraved with a golden Union Jack and the words ‘Brexit. We made history’.
With Brexiteers across the UK expected to hold their own parties, the activist group Conservative Progress is selling £22.15 party packs that include bunting, flags and posters.
Pro-EU groups are making their own plans, including a candlelit vigil in Oxford. The Oxford European Association will hand out croissants and the EU flag will be flown from the Town Hall.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will open City Hall on Friday for European Londoners and their families, with officials offering advice on the EU settlement scheme. There will also be ‘emotional support’ services available.
More than 14,000 people are said to have expressed interest in pro-EU counter-demonstrations in Westminster.
But Jacob Rees-Mogg tells Mail on Sunday readers today, right, that last month’s General Election saw the country vote for ‘a reviving wave of blue MPs’ who have taken the brakes off Brexit, setting the scene for ‘the biggest restoration of vitality to our land in generations’, sparking ‘a decade of renewal’.
The Government’s ‘Ready to Trade’ campaign involves digital outdoor advertising in countries ranging from Australia to China, and India to America. Officials say it emphasises the ‘Great’ in Great Britain and they claim that those who have seen it are now twice as keen to trade with the UK.