ROBERT HARDMAN on how Britain's departure from the EU was for the most part ...

At least there was one point on which Remainer and Brexiteer could agree last night. This was a very British farewell.

Here in a jam-packed Parliament Square, there were no hysterics, no tears – and no pyrotechnics, either.

Yet there was no downplaying the enormity of the moment – fireworks or no fireworks – as the original helmsman of Brexit, Nigel Farage, steered his life's project across the finish line before leading thousands of his true believers in the National Anthem.

After all the polarised nastiness of the past three years, Britain's departure from the European Union was for the most part good-natured and magnanimous, if tinged with a sense of weariness.

People celebrate Britain leaving the EU on Brexit day at Parliament Square in London

People celebrate Britain leaving the EU on Brexit day at Parliament Square in London

Members of the public gather in Parliament Square on Brexit day. After all the polarised nastiness of the past three years, Britain's departure from the European Union was for the most part good-natured but tinged with a sense of weariness

Members of the public gather in Parliament Square on Brexit day. After all the polarised nastiness of the past three years, Britain's departure from the European Union was for the most part good-natured but tinged with a sense of weariness

: Pro Brexit supporters gather ahead of the Brexit Day Celebration Party hosted by Leave Means Leave at Parliament Square on January 31

: Pro Brexit supporters gather ahead of the Brexit Day Celebration Party hosted by Leave Means Leave at Parliament Square on January 31

Moments earlier, as the 11pm quitting hour drew near, the beaming Brexit Party leader had quoted the words of former Labour prime minister Tony Blair earlier in the day. 'Tony Blair has said today there's no point looking back!' said Mr Farage, to big applause. 'How about that? A crowd of Brexiteers cheering Tony Blair!'

He then delivered a ringing endorsement of the Prime Minister: 'I believe we have, in Boris Johnson, a Conservative prime minister who is saying all of the right things. Our hopes and our trust are now bound up with what Boris Johnson does.'

And with that, he began the countdown to 'the greatest moment in the modern history of our great nation'. All across the UK, there were scattered celebrations and wakes taking place last night, including a series of 'Leave A Light On For Scotland' candlelit vigils north of the border and two Brexit rallies in central London.

Yet no one was exactly swinging from the chandeliers. Even among the ultras of the Leave brigade, gathered in Parliament Square last night, the mood was more one of boisterous pride than delirium. For some of the older members of the crowd, this was the culmination of almost half a century's political activism.

Yet most seemed content just to sing Rule Britannia and wave a flag rather than bang on about WTO rules and free trade agreements. As for all those diehard Remainers, who once besieged this place daily draped in EU flags, I saw just one yesterday. He did not stay long.

A man waves Union flags from a small car as he drives past Brexit supporters gathering in Parliament Square

A man waves Union flags from a small car as he drives past Brexit supporters gathering in Parliament Square

Pro Brexit supporters gather ahead of the Brexit Day Celebration Party hosted by Leave Means Leave at Parliament Square on January 31

Pro Brexit supporters gather ahead of the Brexit Day Celebration Party hosted by Leave Means Leave at Parliament Square on January 31

Shortly before the big moment, Mr Johnson delivered a folksy fireside television message to the nation from Downing Street. 'This is not an end but a beginning,' he said, channelling the post-Alamein words of his hero Winston Churchill. 'This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act in our great national drama.'

There was, it must be said, a certain crack-of-dawn look to the PM's hair. Though this was surely an occasion for the Downing Street comb, it had clearly been mislaid.

Not that many people will have noticed. Neither the BBC nor ITV chose to broadcast his message live and no one was watching it in Parliament Square.

Mr Farage and his Brexit battalions had been left to bring their own portable stage on the back of a

read more from dailymail.....

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

PREV New photo book documents children coming of age with magical pics taken at ...
NEXT Former Belgian-Nicaraguan political prisoner calls for probe into Ortega government