Brexit process to be formally triggered on March 29

The prime minister's spokesman has confirmed that Theresa May will trigger article 50 on Wednesday, March 29, initiating the formal process for the United Kingdom to leave the EU.

"After we trigger, the 27 will agree their guidelines for negotiations and the Commission's negotiating mandate", Slack said. Britain had said it hoped the trade deal could be agreed, at least in outline, during the two-year period when the exit talks were being finalised.

"We are on the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation".

"I have set out my objectives", she said.

The article states that any interim agreement should include a schedule for a new free-trade area "within a reasonable length of time" - but it doesn't determine what is reasonable.

We assumed that there would be a deal on preserving the existing rights for EU living in Britain, and British citizens living in the EU and that Britain and the EU would continue to co-operate on security matters.

"The Prime Minister is getting on with delivering the will of the British people". "President Tusk has said he expects an initial response within 48 hours".

Britain voted by a 52 per cent majority to leave the European Union - the first member state ever to do so.

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May hopes to negotiate terms that keep trade, financial and political relations with European Union member states as close as possible after Brexit, but also satisfy eurosceptics in her Conservative Party who demand a complete break.

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".

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

The official notification will be sent to European Council President Donald Tusk next Wednesday, starting the formal process of leaving the EU. A spokesperson said that May will write a letter to the EU's 27 other members to express her intent to have the negotiations begin swiftly.

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".

The bill to be introduced later this year will serve the dual objective of repealing the European Communities Act and incorporate more than four decades of EU law into British law.

"They will all see from the UK's example that leaving the European Union is a bad idea", Juncker said.

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