Article 50 to be triggered on 29th March

Mar 21, 2017, 00:36
Article 50 to be triggered on 29th March

Once Britain has delivered its Article 50 letter to European Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels, EU leaders are expected to reply with their own letter setting out the bloc's negotiating stance.

Downing Street said: "We want negotiations to start promptly, but it's obviously right the 27 have an opportunity to agree their position".

Once that is received, there will be a two-year negotiating process before the United Kingdom finally breaks away in 2019.

Negotiations will begin to outline a UK Brexit deal, which could include trade deals - although this might be handled separately. Whatever we get will not be as good as what we have at the moment.

The notification of triggering Article 50 of a key European Union treaty will come in the form of a letter delivered to Tusk - though it was unclear whether it would come through an actual letter or an electronic missive. The announcement came after May pushed through legislation to start the negotiations to start withdrawal - a process set in motion by voters in a June 23 referendum.

Britain voted by a 52 to 48 percent majority to leave the European Union - the first member state ever to do so. This means that United Kingdom and EU officials will have until the 29th March of 2019 to agree on how the United Kingdom will leave the Union and how they will trade in the future.

Mrs May will address MPs in a statement to the House of Commons following her regular weekly session of Prime Minister's Questions on March 29.

After May's letter reaches Tusk, he is expected to distribute draft guidelines for the negotiations to the 27 other European Union member states.

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He will also summon the leaders of the countries for a summit to endorse the final guidelines, expected in early May.

Stephen Gethins, the SNP's Europe spokesman, said: "Today's announcement that the Prime Minister will push ahead and unilaterally trigger Article 50 shatters beyond fix any notion or position that the Prime Minister is seeking a UK-wide agreement".

Brexit Minister David Davis said the withdrawal process will take Britain to "the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation".

Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay in the European Union in the Jun 23 referendum, while England and Wales voted to leave, resulting in a UK-wide vote of 52 per cent for Brexit.

The report said that Brexit will place a "huge burden" on Parliament and several government departments, with a white paper expected to be published as soon as before Easter.

They would be in addition to the Great Repeal bill, which will end EU legal authority in the country by scrapping the 1972 European Communities Act.

"Labour respects the will of the people, but the government has failed to build a consensus about what form Brexit should take", he said.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, who has called for the public to have their say on the terms of exit in a further referendum, said Mrs May's decision to rule out membership of the single market before negotiations began was proof she was pursuing an "extreme and divisive" Brexit.