Brexit has a start date: Britain to trigger Article 50 legislation next week

A pedestrian sheltering from the rain beneath a Union flag themed umbrella as they walk near the Big Ben clock face and the Elizabeth Tower at the Houses of Parliament in central London on June 25, 2016. (Source: usatoday.com)

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger the legislation that begins Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union on March 29, the British government announced Monday. The move comes nine months after Britain voted to leave the 28-nation bloc.

Notification that Article 50, as the legislation is known, has been triggered next Wednesday will come in the form of a letter to the EU.

“We are on the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation,” the prime minister’s Brexit Secretary David Davis said in a statement Monday.

“The Government is clear in its aims: a deal that works for every nation and region of the U.K. and indeed for all of Europe — a new, positive partnership between the U.K. and our friends and allies in the European Union,” he added.

European Council President Donald Tusk said he will present the draft Brexit guidelines to the 27 nations that will remain in the alliance within 48 hours of the triggering of Article 50.

Margaritis Schinas, the spokesman for the European Commission — the EU’s executive — said the body was informed in advance and was “ready to begin negotiations.”

“Everything is ready on this side,” he said.

A majority of Britons, 52% to 48%, voted to leave the bloc when the referendum was held in June.

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