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Article 50 to be triggered on 29th March

20 March 2017, 10:00 | Winston Chapman

British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to officially begin Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

But formal talks between London and Brussels are not expected to start for six to eight weeks, according to European Union sources, and possibly later while waiting for the result of German elections in September.

Britain's ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, informed the office of European Council president Donald Tusk on Monday morning of the Prime Minister's plans.

The Brexit secretary, David Davis called the entire process as the most important negotiation for this country in a generation.

He said that "everything is ready on this side", and that the EU's executive arm stands ready to play its role once the letter of notification is actually sent.

May embarked Monday on a tour of Britain as part of ongoing engagements with devolved regions ahead of triggering the Article 50. However, in this version of Brexit there is no deal on customs, meaning customs checks for British imports and exports, there is only a limited free trade deal between Britain and the European Union, meaning tariffs on many goods and services, and there are border checks with the Republic of Ireland.

However, the negotiating game will now begin, and attention will be paid to whether there is any reaction on foreign exchange markets in particular, with sterling tending to weaken on any indications of a hard Brexit.

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The announcement meets May's longstanding commitment to trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017.

Notification comes 279 days after the referendum of June 23 previous year delivered a 52%-48% majority in favour of withdrawal.

Preparations are understood to be highly advanced, with the letter to Mrs Tusk already drafted and Britain's opening demands in the Brexit negotiation prepared.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants her country to hold a referendum on Scottish independence immediately after Britain's exit from the EU.

The IFG - an independent charity that aims to increase government effectiveness - says departments will need "ruthlessly to prioritise" other legislation and find non-legislative routes to get the laws through, particularly given the government's narrow Commons majority.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party accepted the Prime Minister had a mandate to start the process of leaving the EU.



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