Britain will trigger Article 50 by March 2017, says Theresa May


Britain looks set to leave the European Union by summer 2019 after triggering the formal process to pull out before the end of March next year, Theresa May has said.

The Prime Minister said Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will be triggered in the first three months of 2017, marking the start of the two-year process to enact Brexit.

The process can be extended beyond two years if Britain and all other EU countries unanimously agree, but that prospect is seen as unlikely.

She made the announcement after revealing plans for a "Great Repeal Bill" to transpose all EU law applying to the UK into domestic law, ready for the day the country leaves the union.

Ahead of her speech on Brexit at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, May told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "As you know, I have been saying that we wouldn't trigger it before the end of this year so that we get some preparation in place.

"But yes, I will be saying in my speech today that we will trigger (Article 50) before the end of March next year."