May to trigger Brexit on 29 March

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones left attend a bilateral meeting at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea Wales Monday

Britain's exit from the European Union will formally start on 29 March, according to media reports.

It comes nine months after the country voted to leave in the 23 June referendum.

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

Mr Tusk has previously said he expects to call an extraordinary summit of the 27 other members within four to six weeks, to draw up a mandate for the European Commission's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

Keir Starmer MP, Labour's Shadow Brexit Secretary, said, "Britain is about to embark on the most complex and important negotiations since World War II, so this a hugely significant moment for the whole country".

The Prime Minister is attempting to reach out in order to address criticisms that she is not paying proper attention to different administrations.

"We wish the talks to begin promptly, but we fully respect that the 27 (other European Union nations) will want to agree their position in advance", the spokesman said.

He added that Number 10 now wants negotiations to "start promptly" - once the article is invoked it will be up to the European Union to come back, with an early response expected within 48 hours.

Jean Claude Juncker, as European Commission president, will oversee the process, while Barnier and his taskforce of negotiators deal with the United Kingdom government for the next two years.

It is not quite accurate to say nothing much is going to happen after article 50 is triggered next week, but the huge excitement built up around "the date" is likely to prove misplaced.

May has said she believes that "no deal is better than a bad deal".

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.

Britain's exit negotiations are expected to be exceptionally tricky, with the country aiming to leave Europe's common market and customs union but hoping to retain preferential access to both through a new trading agreement.

May has said she wants to leave the European single market in order to be able to control immigration. But EU leaders, anxious to avoid encouraging others in the 28-member bloc to split, have said they will not give May an easy ride.

The Scottish National Party's Europe spokesperson at Westminster, Stephen Gethins, said: "Today's announcement. shatters beyond fix any notion or position that the Prime Minister is seeking a UK-wide agreement".

The pound on Monday fell against the United States dollar after confirmation of the date Brexit negotiations will begin.

The move will also come just days after European leaders gather in Italy to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundations for the EU.

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