Theresa May signs Article 50 letter

Written by James Millar on 29 March 2017 in Diary

Britain is finally on its way out of the EU after the Prime Minister's letter to Brussels

Theresa May last night signed the letter that will trigger the UK's exit from the European Union.

Number 10 released a picture of the PM sat at the Cabinet table with pen in hand. After she'd put her name on the missive it was transported with its own guard to Brussels via the Channel tunnel. She then phoned German chancellor Angela Merkel and EU president Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss the next steps.

Britain's ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, took the six-page letter to the EU Council building in his battered briefcase this morning before officially delivering it to the Council's chief Donald Tusk.

That moment starts the clock ticking on the two year deadline for the UK and EU to agree a deal on their future relationship after 2019. Tusk will publish the EU's negotiation guidelines on Friday, member states are expected to adopt the guidelines at a summit in April paving the way for negotiations to start in May. One of the first issues to be settled will be the fate of EU nationals in the UK and Brits who live elsewhere in Europe. Government sources have played down suggestions that May plans to impose conditions on EU nationals arriving from now on.

The Prime Minister chaired a special Cabinet meeting first thing and she'll tell parliament that she wants to make Brexit work for everyone setting out her "fierce determination to get the right deal for every single person in this country." This evening she will face a TV grilling from the BBC's Andrew Neil, due to air at 7pm.

Jeremy Corbyn greeted the moment by pledging Labour would hold the government to account "every step of the way" during the negotiation process while the Lib Dems accused Theresa May of starting without a plan. 







Photo credit Christopher Furlong/PA Wire/PA Images

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