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No festivities proves Brexit will start with a whimper, says SNP

Brexit will begin with "a whimper, not a bang", an MP has said with no official ceremonies planned for exit day on March 29.

No street parties, EU flag-lowering ceremonies or bongs from Big Ben have been planned, the government confirmed to the SNP's Patrick Grady.

Despite the Prime Minister's claim of healing the divisions caused by the EU referendum, Mr Grady said the only people likely to be celebrating on departure day were European Reform Group (ERG) members, the arch-Brexiteers led by Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg.

"It seems if Brexit does actually happen on March 29 this year, it will be a with a whimper, not a bang," said Mr Grady.

"There will be very little to celebrate when or if Brexit day finally arrives, but the news that there are no flag-lowering or any other official ceremonies planned will perhaps disappoint Brexiteers who are convinced a glorious new era of splendid isolation awaits the UK.

"There may be some Champagne supped by elite members of the ERG, but I doubt there will be parties or rejoicing on the streets of towns and cities across the UK if the country crashes out with no-deal, or even a version of the woeful deal negotiated by the PM."

Responding to a series of parliamentary questions, Culture Minister Michael Ellis ruled out funding for communities to hold Brexit festivals, street parties or other events.

"There are no plans to make funding available for such events," he said.

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom confirmed there are no plans for MPs to mark Brexit in the House of Commons on March 29 or 30.

She said: "There are currently no plans for the House to sit on either March 29 or 30.

"Any changes to the sitting hours of the House would need to be agreed by the House in the usual way."

Cabinet Office minister David Lidington confirmed Parliament's famous bell Big Ben would not be ringing, as it does for the new year and other special occasions.

He also confirmed there were no plans for any ceremony involving the lowering of EU flags in or around Parliament Square.

The only official plans to mark the occasion appear to be the creation of a new 50p coin by the Royal Mint.

Belfast Telegraph