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Britain to trigger Brexit negotiations on March 29

UPDATED: Mon., March 20, 2017, 6:55 p.m.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at the Conservative Spring Forum in Cardiff, Wales Friday March 17, 2017. (Stefan Rousseau / Associated Press)
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at the Conservative Spring Forum in Cardiff, Wales Friday March 17, 2017. (Stefan Rousseau / Associated Press)

LONDON – Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger formal negotiations on Britain leaving the European Union on March 29, the British government said on Monday.

It said Britain’s envoy to the EU, Tim Barrow, had informed European Council President Donald Tusk’s office that May plans to inform it by letter that she is triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which allows a nation to leave the EU after up to two years of negotiations.

“Last June, the people of the UK made the historic decision to leave the EU,” Brexit Secretary David Davis said in a statement.

“Next Wednesday, the government will deliver on that decision and formally start the process by triggering Article 50.

“We are on the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation,” Davis said.

He said May’s Conservative government wants to agree to a Brexit deal that “works for every nation and region of the UK and indeed for all of Europe – a new, positive partnership between the UK and our friends and allies in the European Union.”

The British parliament backed May’s Article 50 plan last week, after six weeks of debate, when lawmakers backed down on two amendments.