The European Parliament is set to rubber stamp Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal later, paving the way for Britain’s departure from the EU.

MEPs are expected to overwhelmingly support ratification of the withdrawal agreement ahead of Brexit day on Friday.

It comes after the British parliament passed the prime minister’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill last week.

Ursula Von Der Leyen signs the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU. Pic@vonderleyen
Ursula Von Der Leyen signs the withdrawal agreement. Pic: @vonderleyen

The deal has been formally signed by European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Mr Johnson signed it in Downing Street after the legislation had been given royal assent.

The withdrawal agreement covers the terms of Britain’s departure from the bloc after 47 years of membership.

It includes an agreement on future citizens’ rights, arrangements for the Northern Ireland border and the “divorce bill” Britain will pay Brussels.

Once the UK has left the EU, it will enter into an 11-month transition period.

This timeframe, during which Britain will continue to follow EU rules and regulations, is to allow for the two sides to negotiate the terms of their future relationship.

Mr Johnson has promised not to extend the transition period beyond the end of December, despite senior EU figures warning that a comprehensive deal will not be possible in such a short space of time.

There will be a farewell ceremony for British MEPs after the European Parliament vote.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the vote would be a “historic moment”.

“It is the start of a new chapter for an independent, sovereign Britain, looking forward to a decade of renewal and opportunity,” he said.

“Whether we are reducing trade barriers between nations, tackling climate change, or improving lives around the world, our vision of a truly global Britain will be a force for good.”

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage reacts during a news conference ahead of a vote in the European Parliament on the Withdrawal Agreement in Brussels
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage will address the European Parliament this afternoon

Nigel Farage said he would miss being the “pantomime villain” in the chamber.

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, the Brexit Party MEP said: “I have got my last speech here this afternoon, so I will do my best if I can to get some audience participation.”

Talking to Sky News ahead of his last speech to the European Parliament, Mr Farage said: “I’m very much hoping that Brexit leads to a different debate going on around Europe – an end to a system where effectively an unelected European Commission is the government of Europe.

“I think Brexit will lead to the end of the European Union as we currently know it.”