Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Nearly four years after Britons voted to leave the European Union, members of the European Parliament on Wednesday gave final approval to Britain's departure on Friday.
The European Parliament voted 621-49 during a plenary session in Brussels, Belgium, to approve the withdrawal agreement brokered by London and the EU and passed by British lawmakers. It was the final hurdle to Britain's exit from the 28-nation bloc after nearly a half-century of membership.
Parliament members debated the draft terms before it ratified the deal.
At Wednesday's meeting, the EU gave the British government a copy of an "instrument of ratification", which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed.
"Signing the instrument of ratification of the withdrawal agreement is a historic moment that will legally bring an end to our membership of the European Union, and delivers on the promise we made to the British people," British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
"It is the start of a new chapter for an independent, sovereign Britain, looking forward to a decade of renewal and opportunity. 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."
Scottish National Party leader Ian Blackford said earlier he hoped "our European friends [will] leave a light on for Scotland," and called for a "tailored" post-Brexit immigration system for Scotland.
After Britain and the EU part ways Friday, the two will negotiate terms of its future relationship beginning in March. Those discussions will include specific details on trade, travel and other issues.
A commemorative 50-pence coin will be issued on Friday upon Britain's exit, which reads, "Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations."