Brexit becomes a reality on Thursday as Britain leaves Europe’s customs union and single market, ending nearly half a century of often turbulent ties with its closest neighbours.The UK’s tortuous departure from the European Union was to take full effect when Big Ben strikes 11pm (2300 GMT) in central London, just as most of the European mainland ushers in 2021 at midnight.Brexit has dominated British politics since the country’s narrow vote to leave the bloc in June 2016, opening deep political…


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