Theresa May today gave a statement in Parliament on her letter notifying the European Council President of the UK’s intention to leave the EU and triggering Article 50.
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty gives both sides two years to reach agreement so, unless the UK and the 27 remaining EU member states agree to extend the deadline for talks, the UK will leave on Friday 29 March 2019.
In a statement in the House of Commons, Mrs May said: “Today the government acts on the democratic will of the British people and it acts too on the clear and convincing position of this House.”
“The Article 50 process is now under way and in accordance with the wishes of the British people the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union.
“This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back.” – Theresa May
The Prime Minister said today marks “the moment for the country to come together”m adding Britain would now make its own decisions and its own laws and “take control of the things that matter most to us – we are going to take this opportunity to build a stronger, fairer Britain, a country that our children and grandchildren are proud to call home”.
Reacting to the news, the UK’s High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey Tweeted: “As we leave the EU, the UK will strengthen relationships w friends & allies around the world including here in Kenya.”
— Nic Hailey (@HCNicHailey) March 29, 2017
At a press conference in Brussels, Donald Tusk held up Mrs May’s letter, saying: “We already miss you.”
In a brief statement, he said it was not “a happy day” for him or for the EU and promised to begin arrangements for the UK’s “orderly withdrawal”.
He added that the EU’s aim in negotiations was “damage limitation” and to “minimise costs” for EU citizens, businesses and member states.