Prime Minister Theresa May said in an interview today (2 October) to BBC that the British government will trigger article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty before the end of March next year. This will start the formal negotiation process on the conditions for Brexit and implies that UK plans to leave EU two years later, by Spring 2019.
Her announcement came ahead of her speech on Brexit at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.
She also promised a bill to remove the European Communities Act 1972 from the British statute book. It will be contained in a “Great Repeal Bill”, which will also enshrine existing EU law into British law.
“The remaining members of the EU have to decide what the process of negotiation is,” May said.
“I hope, and I will be saying to them, now that they know what our timing is going to be – it’s not an exact date but they know it will be in the first quarter of next year – that we’ll be able to have some preparatory work so that once the trigger comes we have a smoother process of negotiation.”
“It’s not just important for the UK but important for Europe as a whole that we’re able to do this in the best possible way so we have the least disruption for businesses, and when we leave the EU we have a smooth transition from the EU.”
After the Leave vote in the referendum, May promised that “Brexit means Brexit. “ She now added that Brexit would make the UK an “independent, sovereign nation” but it remains to be seen if UK can leave EU and still benefit as it has done until now from the common EU market.
The 27 remaining EU member states are not likely to make any concessions to UK as this might encourage other countries to follow in its footsteps.