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European Parliament ratifies Brexit deal

Britain’s departure from the European Union was set in law Wednesday as the bloc’s parliament voted to ratify the move, AFP reports.

In the wake of the vote, the UK will leave the EU at midnight Brussels time on Friday.

MEPs voted by 621 votes to 49 to pass the withdrawal agreement, which sees Britain leave the EU institutions but remain under most EU rules during a transition until the end of the year.

Following the vote, MEPs burst into a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne”, a traditional Scottish song of farewell.

Britain and Europe will apply EU rules on trade and free movement of citizens until the end of the year, while negotiating a free trade agreement.

Johnson’s government hopes more trade with the United States and Asian powers can help offset the costs of Brexit.