Sterling slides as Article 50 trigger looms

The referendum to leave the European Union, known as Brexit, was narrowly passed last summer, with some who voted for the United Kingdom to leave the EU saying they were tricked by politicians who oversold non-existent healthcare benefits and promised to stop immigration, Vigliotti reports.

European Union officials are drafting a resolution which will serve as a response to the Prime Minister's official notice of withdrawal from the bloc.

Once it has been accepted, Article 50 has been officially launched, starting a two-year countdown to the United Kingdom leaving the EU.

That sentiment didn't prevent interruptions to May's speech on Article 50. Barrow arrived at European Council headquarters carrying a briefcase Wednesday morning, before his appointment with Tusk.

Mr Hammond said it was an "exciting time", telling the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "This is a pivotal moment for Britain".

May will prioritise reducing the hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the rest of the bloc who move to Britain each year, after the issue dominated the referendum campaign.

Both Britain and the European Union say a top priority will be guaranteeing the rights of 3 million European Union citizens living in Britain, and 1 million Britons living elsewhere in the bloc.

Symbolically, Britain is now on their own.

The pound pushed higher against the euro as the starting gun on Britain's formal exit from the European Union was sacked, climbing from a rise of 0.2% to 0.6% by the time the PM had finished addressing Parliament.

Mr Tusk, the EU's top official, said "we already miss you" moments after he received the official Brexit letter.

The fate of European Union immigrants in Britain and Brits in the European Union is the main issue. For Britain, it would nearly certainly mean steep tariffs on trade with the bloc.

Calling for a "deep and special partnership" with Brussels, Prime Minister Theresa May struck a conciliatory tone today in her letter formally announcing Britain's intention to leave the EU.

She pledged to deliver "the democratic will of the British people" and to take the "unique opportunity" to "shape a brighter future" for the United Kingdom, adding: "I choose to believe in Britain and that our best days lie ahead".

The future status of around three million European Union citizens living in Britain and more than one million British nationals in other parts of the bloc has been a major source of discord since the referendum.

"It's become worrying that the UK Government seems to have no plan B to maintain Britain's liberalised air links with Europe, in the absence of remaining in the "Open Skies" regime", Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair's Chief Marketing Officer said.

  • Leroy Wright