The Home Secretary has announced that the triggering of Article 50 next year will be marked by a public holiday.
Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the announcement and said: "Pressing the button to exit the European Union will be a happy and momentous occasion for our country. We want to mark the day as one of national celebration. A public holiday will ensure the most people possible will have a chance to celebrate on the day."
A full programme of commemorative events will be held across the country, from Sunderland to Cornwall, and from Blackpool to Great Yarmouth. Celebrities including Noel Edmonds and Sir Ian Botham will lead rallies in key constituency hubs, and a range of British-made souvenir merchandise will be available for purchase.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: "The last few months have been a difficult time for Britain. A turbulent referendum campaign tore the country apart, pitting neighbour against neighbour and reason against hate. We now seek to drive forward the momentum of that collective decision, and to heal the wounds with a good old British knees-up."
All private sector workers will be given the day off, along with selected public sector workers including teachers in academies and outsourced colleagues on zero hours contracts.
David Davis, Minister for Exiting the European Union, said: "Only when Article 50 is triggered will the Brexit process become real and unstoppable. Whilst we are not yet ready to release all the details, we want the public to be as prepared as possible for this historic day, and to unite together towards a common aim."
The public holiday will apply only to businesses in England and Wales. The electorates of Northern Ireland and Scotland failed to vote Leave, so it would be unfair to give them the day off.
Small amounts of funding will be available for hosting street parties, village fetes and parades of armed forces veterans. A 'Fifties' theme has been confirmed, looking back towards a golden age of rosy austerity. All free-to-air TV channels other than BBC1 and ITV will close down for the day, and the Channel Tunnel will be temporarily sealed off. Meanwhile Mary Berry and Marks and Spencer will join forces to release a special selection of era-appropriate British treats including spam and blancmange washed down with a bottle of dandelion and burdock.
Citizens will be encouraged to send 'Happy Article 50' greetings cards and to drape their homes with red tape. Gary Barlow and Andrea Leadsom will headline a special concert on The Mall in conjunction with The Sun newspaper, with tickets awarded to a random selection of confirmed Leave voters. At dusk a chain of beacons will be lit starting from the White Cliffs of Dover, spreading a message of hope to all four corners of our country. Migrants may be invited to the festivities with community consent. The day will end with a series of bonfires beside rivers, because it would be especially symbolic to burn bridges as our exit from the EU is confirmed.
The name of the public holiday is as yet undecided. The Prime Minister suggested Article 50 Day, but focus groups suggested this was a bit dull. Liam Fox suggested Victory Over Europe Day, but this was thought too triumphalist. Boris Johnson suggested The Big Brexit Red Button Holiday, until it was pointed out that this is too long to fit in a Daily Express headline. Nigel rang in to suggest Independence Day, but this was considered a bit over-the-top, and the actual day of independence will be at least two years hence. The Home Office sub-committee in charge of things even considered asking an expert, then remembered that Britain's had enough of experts. Instead a shortlist of suggestions will be aired on The One Show in November and put to the public vote, and the most populist of these will be adopted. In the meantime the codename St Brexit's Day is being deployed, which seems to sum things up well enough.
As yet it is not possible to confirm the date of this additional bank holiday. We cannot pre-announce the precise moment that Article 50 will be triggered because this would place us at a disadvantage in future negotiations with the EU and our trading partners. Obviously June 23rd is high on the list, as this would be the first anniversary of Our Glorious Revolution, but that's probably too obvious. Several Cabinet members were quite keen on April 23rd, except that's a Sunday next year and so ineligible. Boris Johnson wanted May 30th to make a long weekend of the Spring break, but the Chancellor explained he probably can't target the date that precisely. Instead the public holiday will be scheduled whenever fits best with how things are going, all things considered, and will be delivered in the fullness of time when conditions are right.
Confirmation of the date of St Brexit's Day will be released via social media on the previous evening, shortly after financial markets cease trading, thereby increasing economic stability in turbulent times. This is an important part of the plan, almost as important as guaranteeing that the stock markets are closed on the day Article 50 is triggered. This isn't really a public holiday for the public, it's a bank holiday for the banks, ensuring that there can't be a run on the pound when Brexit becomes irreversible.
In the meantime rest assured that this current period of political stalemate will soon be over, because our plans are definitely coming together. We do very much know what we are doing, and we'll have those trade deals and that ban on immigration sorted before you know it. In the meantime we've cooked up this diversionary sideshow as a patriotic smokescreen, and to make it look like we're doing something.
Please make plans now to join us on St Brexit's Day, assuming it happens, and whenever it may be.