Thursday, 19 October, 2017

British PM to begin formal European Union exit process March 29

Liberal Democrat spring conference Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said the Prime Minister is 'embarking on an extreme and divisive Brexit'
Howard Terry | 21 March, 2017, 00:39

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.

Mrs May's spokesman also rejected reports that an early election might be held, saying: "It's not going to happen".

The Prime Minister's letter officially notifying the European Council of the UK's intention to quit will set in train a two-year negotiation process expected to lead to Britain leaving the EU on March 29 2019.

We have always said we meant to do so before the end of March.

The Prime Minister will give a statement to MPs in the House of Commons next week, after formally pulling the Brexit trigger.

The spokesman said Britain wanted to start withdrawal negotiations "promptly", but accepts that "it is right that the 27 have a chance to agree their position" before talks start.

London says the Brexit process is irreversible once Article 50 is triggered, although experts have said there is no legal ban on member states changing their minds before leaving the EU.

The triggering of the Lisbon Treaty comes nine months after Britain voted out of the European Union 51.9% to 48.9%.

David Davis, the UK Government's Brexit Secretary, hinted last week that the devolved administrations would get notice of the triggering of Article 50.

"The government is clear in its aims", he said.

"I have also been clear that as we leave the European Union I will work to deliver a deal that works for the whole of the United Kingdom".

The EC is expected to provide an initial answer to Britain's Article 50 notification within 48 hours, but negotiations are not expected to start for several weeks or even months.

"Everything is ready on this side", Margaritis Schinas, the spokesman for European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, told a briefing. Under this scenario, talks are likely to begin in earnest in May.

Sir Michael Fallon, UK defence secretary, has reportedly been speaking to several European Union countries about building military links. "There is a timetable that everyone has bought into it".

EU leaders have said they want to conclude the talks within 18 months to allow the terms of the UK's exit to be ratified by the UK Parliament and the European Parliament, as well as approved by the necessary majority of EU states.

The IFG report anticipates the new bills will be in addition to the Great Repeal Bill, which will scrap the 1972 European Communities Act that paved the way for the United Kingdom to enter the then-EEC, ending the legal authority of EU law.

Britain is one of the oldest and largest members of the 28-nation bloc, and its departure has raised fears for the EU's future as eurosceptic movements gain support across the continent.

"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".

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May.

Meanwhile, Britain's Institute for Government has said as many as 15 new Parliamentary Bills may be needed due to Brexit.

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