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Theresa May to trigger Article 50 next week, officially notifying EU of Brexit
Theresa May will trigger the Brexit process by invoking Article 50 on Wednesday 29 March, the UK Prime Minister’s spokesman has confirmed
20 March 2017, 12:47pm
A spokesman said the government wants negotiations to start as soon as possible but added that they "fully appreciate it is right that the other 27 EU states have time to agree their position".
Once Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is invoked it will be up to the EU to come back, with an early response expected within 48 hours.
The invocation will formally begin Brexit negotiations. The move will start a two year period during which the and UK will try to agree the terms of Brexit and what relations will look like once Britain leaves.
The period can only be made longer by way of a unanimous vote of all European countries' governments. If no deal is reached by the end of the period, the UK will leave the EU with no deal and revert to World Trade Organisation rules.
Talks on the terms of the departure and future relations are not allowed under the Article 50 process until the UK formally tells the EU it is leaving.
May is expected to make a statement to the House of Commons shortly after invoking Article 50.
"The Prime Minister will deliver her letter triggering Article 50 to President Tusk on Wednesday, and deliver a statement to announce the move. There was no further detail about exactly what the letter would say at this point," the spokesman said.
The spokesman added that the UK's Ambassador to the EU, Tim Barrow, informed the European Council, headed by President Donald Tusk, earlier on Monday that the date on which Article 50 would be triggered was next Wednesday, 29 March.
May, who was visiting Swansea on Monday, intended to visit Northern Ireland and Scotland before the formal notification was sent by letter on 29 March, Downing Street said.
The move comes nine months after the UK voted 51.9% to 48.1% in a referendum to leave the EU.
According to May’s timetable, Brexit is expected to happen in March 2019.
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