Britain is leaving the European Union but not leaving Europe, a senior Conservative MEP told today's debate in Brussels on the UK's withdrawal agreement.

Anthea McIntyre, MEP for the West Midlands, said Conservatives should be proud of their achievements and their legacy as they leave the European Parliament.

She used her farewell speech to thank friends and colleagues from across all the political groups for their co-operation over many years.

Miss McIntyre said: "We have certainly not always agreed, but we have all worked for what we believe is in the best interests of the people we represent. My overwhelming feeling is of a job well done, though not always understood back home! 

"It is important that we leave on good terms, with a climate of friendly co-operation for productive talks on a trade deal ahead. I’m not saying it will be easy, both sides are already taking up some tough positions. But that is what negotiation is all about. 

"Just as it was with the withdrawal agreement, so it is in the interests of all of us to have a trade deal.

"I speak as the proud daughter of a Scottish soldier who landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-day. We are all Europeans. We are certainly leaving the institutions of the European Union – but we are not leaving Europe.