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May to trigger Brexit on March 29

20 March 2017, 10:50 | Melvin Schneider

Nine months after the stunning referendum vote for Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May's government will finally trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty next week, starting a two-year departure.

If all goes according to the two year negotiations set out in the official timetable, Brexit should happen in March 2019.

Sterling fell half a cent against the dollar on what Brexit minister David Davis described as a move taking Britain to "the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation".

Up to early 2019, Britain will remain a full European Union member and nothing will change beyond the exclusion of its representatives from some European Union meetings where the approach of the remaining 27 to Brexit is discussed.

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.

"The prime minister has confirmed that she will give a statement to parliament as well".

One of key issues is the €50 billion bill the United Kingdom must settle to leave the EU.

But if a better deal wasn't available and people were forced to choose, 41% said Britain should go ahead and leave on those terms, 32% think there should be a referendum on whether to stay in the European Union after all, 27% of people are unsure.

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"On the day May is travelling the country claiming she wants to bring the United Kingdom together, she lets it be known she is about to unleash division and bitterness", he said.

May has said since October that she intends to trigger Brexit by the end of March, without being more precise.

The notification marks the first time the Article 50 provisions, which outline the process for any EU member state to pull out of the union, have been activated. The Government will want due recognition of Ireland's priorities in the initial negotiating position.

May embarked Monday on a tour of Britain as part of ongoing engagements with devolved regions ahead of triggering the Article 50.

It came as a new think tanks report reveals bills to manage Brexit will consume Parliament entirely from May onwards leaving "very little time for anything else".

Her visit comes after she rejected calls for a potential second independence referendum for Scotland before a deal is reached.

Priti Patel, the UK's global development secretary, said: "What this shows is that we are a government that is very focused".

The UK notified the European Union on Monday of its intention to invoke Article 50 and will now prepare for a lengthy legislative and political program which promises to be anything but clear-cut.



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