Sterling falls as UK sets date for Brexit talks trigger

British Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 on March 29, starting official Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union, her spokesman has confirmed.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May answers questions after delivering a speech on leaving the European Union at Lancaster House in London, January 17, 2017.

Negotiations should start "promptly" after the notification, the PM's spokesman said, but acknowledged that it was "obviously right that the EU27 have time to agree their position". As a result, United Kingdom officials have already approached the World Trade Organization to see what they can do in case they cannot reach a deal within the two-year deadline.

The process will give a negotiating mandate to the EU's executive arm, the European Commission, with chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier going ahead with the process of scheduling talks with his British counterpart, Brexit minister David Davis.

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.

Theresa May first came to Wales in the baking hot sun in Cardiff Bay last summer, a short time after she became Prime Minister. We asked people what they would think if Britain ended up with a far less favourable version of Brexit, a hypothetical Brexit where Theresa May doesn't manage to get some of things she wants.

The UK expects to receive a response to Barrow's notification from the EU Council within 48 hours, he added. All that is happening is that Britain is following the terms set down in the Lisbon Treaty to trigger formal exit talks.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron offered voters a referendum on European Union membership, and in June they voted by 52-48 percent to leave. Talks on departing the prosperous club Britain joined in 1973 are likely to be the most complex London has held since World War Two, with other European Union leaders saying they will not give May an easy ride.

A UK Government spokesperson said: "The UK has not yet invoked Article 50". Ireland's interests are best served by a smooth negotiating process, a transitional deal for trade after 2019 - before a final agreement is reached - and a final deal which allows trade to continue as freely as possible in the long term.

Nationalists in Scotland, which voted to remain in the bloc, have accused the May government of pressing for a hard Brexit by committing to departing the EU's lucrative single market of 500 million consumers.

  • Leroy Wright


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