PM May starts United Kingdom tour before pulling Brexit trigger

The Bill allows the prime minister to notify Brussels that the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, with a two-year process of exit negotiations to follow.

"The EU's permanent representative to the EU informed the office of Donald Tusk that it's the UK's intention to trigger Article 50 on March 29", a spokesperson for Prime Minister Theresa May said.

The trigger for all this tumult is the innocuous-sounding Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, a never-before-used mechanism for withdrawing from the bloc.

Speaking soon after the date was announced during her ongoing tour of Wales, the British Prime Minister said she would work towards getting a "good free trade deal" from the EU.

An EU spokesman said it was "ready and waiting" for the letter.

September 18, 2014: Scottish voters decide in a referendum to remain part of the United Kingdom rather than become an independent country.

The move comes nine months after Britain voted 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent in favour of Brexit in a referendum on 23 June, 2016.

March 13: Britain's Parliament approves a bill giving the government the authority to invoke Article 50 to take Britain out of the EU.

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.

This process is called "Article 50" and begins the actual withdrawal from the EU.

"Theresa May has repeatedly said that she wants to build a national consensus on Brexit, but it is increasingly clear she has failed to do so".

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.

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.

The EU leaders will later hold a summit in April or May to decide a final response.

  • Salvatore Jensen