PM May to get Brexit started today

British Prime Minister Theresa May in the cabinet office to sign the official letter to European Council President Donald Tusk invoking Article 50 and the United Kingdom's intention to leave the EU, on March 28, 2017.
British Prime Minister Theresa May in the cabinet office to sign the official letter to European Council President Donald Tusk invoking Article 50 and the United Kingdom's intention to leave the EU, on March 28, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty today, setting the clock ticking on a two-year deadline to reach a Brexit deal with the European Union (EU).

With the French presidential polls coming up in May and the German election in September, and the need to set aside time for the European Parliament to ratify the Brexit agreement, the two sides have under 18 months of real negotiating time.

A transitional deal could be on the cards, to bridge the gap between Britain's departure from the bloc and when a trade pact between the UK and the EU is in place.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2017, with the headline 'PM May to get Brexit started today'. Print Edition | Subscribe