BORIS Johnson hailed Britain’s future as a nation of trail-blazers as the countdown to Brexit began.
The PM said his team was ready to hit the ground running the minute we leave the EU at 11pm on Friday.
Officials will launch a new “Ready to Trade” campaign in 13 countries in a drive to forge new links with future global partners.
Mr Johnson urged maximum effort to end 3½ years of division since the referendum and seize opportunities ahead.
He said: “Friday marks an important moment in the history of our United Kingdom.
“No matter how you voted in 2016, it is 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 shall be doing on January 31. I urge everyone across the UK to do the same.”
Mr Johnson will mark the moment with a 10pm address to the nation from Downing Street.
It will be followed by a light show. A countdown clock will be projected on to No.10 along with a display symbolising the UK’s strength and unity.
UNION JACKS WILL LINE OUR STREETS
Union Jacks will line Parliament Square and The Mall. Public buildings in Whitehall will be lit up in red, white and blue.
He is angry that plans for Big Ben to bong as Britain departs the EU have been blocked.
It will include posters depicting the Union Jack at the heart of scenes promoting our agriculture, shipping, energy and automotive industries.
President Donald Trump has prioritised a bumper trade deal between America and Britain.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said after meeting Chancellor Sajid Javid: “Our goal — your goal — is to get these agreements done this year. I think this will be a very important relationship.”
Throughout this week, Mr Johnson and his team will meet people and businesses across the UK as they encourage the whole country to look ahead.
He will host a “People’s PMQs” on Wednesday and children will be invited to No.10 on Thursday to quiz him about their future.
On Brexit Day, he and ministers will hold a Cabinet meeting in an as-yet unspecified North of England location to discuss the government’s “levelling up” agenda and how best to spread prosperity and opportunity.
We're finally free, says Priti Patel, Home Secretary
It’s taken far too long to get here, but we are now just five days away from leaving the EU.
The Prime Minister and the EU signed the Withdrawal Agreement – after all the false dawns, we are finally leaving.
We are becoming an independent country again – delivering on the promise made to the British people over three years ago by finally getting Brexit done.
The whole UK will be free to determine its own future. Free to form partnerships with old allies and make new friends around the world.
This is a time for optimism and confidence however you voted in the 2016 referendum. We will always work to heal the divisions that have emerged over the past three and a half years so we can reunite our communities.
And we will deliver on the people’s priorities – giving the NHS the biggest cash injection in its history, renewing schools, backing scientists, building better infrastructure and strengthening our union.
And in my department, the Home Office, we will be working round the clock to deliver some of the biggest priorities of all: controlling immigration and making our streets safer.
We are recruiting 20,000 more police officers and making sure terrorists and serious violent and sexual offenders spend longer in a prison cell.
If you have your car stolen or house broken into is an upsetting and long-winded process.
Hours spent on the phone to insurance companies, filing crime reports and replacing belongings.
But it is not just about the inconvenience.
There is also the emotional impact. The thought of intruders breaking into your home and going through your possessions is frightening and disturbing and can live with you for years.
The idea that someone has kept watch waiting for you to leave for work before breaking into your house is unnerving.
For the victims, at their worst these incidents can leave them feeling unsafe in their own homes.
But the impact is also felt more widely.
When a break-in happens, neighbours worry their home will be next. When a car is stolen, it leaves everyone in the street feeling less safe.
And investigating takes up valuable police time that could be spent targeting the highest harm crimes.
Robbery, burglary and theft are the crimes that the public are most likely to encounter.
And they are also expensive.
In 2015/16, the cost of these crimes against individuals was an estimated £8.1billion.
And it’s a small number of hotspots which account for most offences.
For example, the top five per cent of local areas recorded 31 per cent of all such crimes in 2018/19.
Our police do a fantastic job and their funding will rise by more than £1.1 billion.
But they are usually called after an incident takes place.
STOP CRIMINALS STRIKING
After people have lost their personal belongings and feel unsafe in their homes and neighbourhoods.
After burglars or thieves have made off with their victims’ possessions, leaving a trail of misery in their wake.
So what can we do to stop these criminals from striking in the first place?
There is strong evidence to show that we can prevent these crimes through simple solutions, such as installing locked gates around alleyways, increased street-lighting and improving home security.
These remove the opportunities for would-be offenders to commit crimes, or put them off by making it more likely that they will be caught.
Other tactics such as training more community wardens or community building activities such as Neighbourhood Watch can help too.
But to make changes like these we need two things.
First of all, local areas need to collaborate and work together to come up with a plan, based on local data.
And secondly, they need to have the right resources.
That’s why I’m launching our Safer Streets Fund.
It is a £25 million fund which will give grants of up to £550,000 to Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales to invest in preventative measures.
The fund will open for bids this week and we want this money to be invested in well-evidenced projects so we can tackle the scourge of crime head on, particularly in the worst-affected areas.
I want this funding to transform the experiences of these communities, making a real difference to those who have, for too long, suffered the effects of crimes like burglary and theft, so they don’t find themselves having to call the police in the first place.