It's Happening: Brexit 'Article 50' To Be Triggered On March 29

Cheryl Sanders
March 21, 2017

The UK voted on the referendum last June, with the majority of British nationals voting to leave the European Union.

Scottish Government minister Michael Russell complained that the UK Government "somehow forgot to inform" the devolved administrations of the timetable for Article 50, leaving them to hear about it from the media. The draft is broadly ready, based on what May said in a key speech in January, but may need to be fine-tuned, European Union officials say.

In response to the news, European Union president Donald Tusk said he would have draft negotiating guidelines ready within 48 hours of receiving the letter.

Britain is also likely to be slapped with a hefty divorce Bill before talks start - and over the weekend the European Council President said the PM could be forced to walk out if she doesn't pay up.

"We have always been clear that we will trigger by the end of March and we have met that timetable". However, the prime minister's spokesman was adamant that Downing Street remained opposed to an election before 2020.

"There is no change in our position". "It's not going to happen".

The British announcement comes as EU leaders are preparing for a gathering in Rome later this week to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC), forerunner to the current EU.

However, Nicola Sturgeon's demand for a second independence referendum in Scotland last week - coupled with the delay in getting the Article 50 bill through the House of Lords - limited the government's choices. The Prime Minister will give a statement to Parliament as well.

However, Downing Street sources rejected the series of visits are a reaction to any recent events but they will inevitably be seen as an eleventh-hour dash across the nation to calm tensions ahead of invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - the untested mechanism for a member state to exit the EU. Britain has said it will impose limits on immigration, and so will have to leave the EU's single market and customs union. May's official spokesman revealed the news to journalists at the daily 11 a.m. lobby briefing Monday.

Notification of the historic step will come in the form of a letter from the Prime Minister to Mr Tusk, though Downing Street did not make clear whether this would be a physical letter handed to the European Council president by a United Kingdom representative or might be sent electronically.

Due to trigger Article 50, her office has said May will be visiting Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to hear the government's differing views on Brexit.

U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis has said "the first meeting, bluntly, will be about how we do this?" "A deal that works for every nation and region of the United Kingdom and indeed for all of Europe - a new, positive partnership between the United Kingdom and our friends and allies in the European Union".

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