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United Kingdom

20 Mar 2017

May announces date of invoking article 50

Theresa May revealed today that she will invoke article 50 on the 29th March. This is the date that everybody in the United Kingdom was waiting for, regardless if they voted for Bremain or Brexit in last year’s referendum.

May kept her promise and announced the article 50 will be invoked at end of March. Tim Barrow, the UK permanent representative to the European Union delivered the news in person to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. Tusk tweeted, that “within 48 hours of the UK triggering the article 50, I will present the draft #Brexit guidelines to the EU27 member states.” Triggering the article 50 next week, means that talks can start in May. David Davis, the Brexit secretary for the UK government commented: “the government is clear in its aims. A deal that works for every region and nation of the UK and, indeed, for all of Europe.”

Like the exchange of “courtesies” between Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon, concerning the planned Scottish independence referendum, wasn’t enough, invoking article 50 added another nail in the coffin of that relationship. Mike Russell, the Holyrood’s Brexit secretary, claimed that he wasn’t informed at all by May’s government of the announcement. Russell tweeted : ”Thank you BBC news for letting JMC members like me know that article 50 is to be triggered next week. UK governments somehow forgot to inform us.”

Theresa May visited Swansea today and signed off the Bay City Region deal, which will create 9,000 jobs and trigger £1,3bn pound of investment. First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, told The Guardian that May has a “tin ear” on issues of devolution. The purpose of this trip, according to Downing Street officials, is to “engage and listen to people from right across the nation.” After Wales, May is going to visit Scotland and Northern Ireland, trying to convince citizens on the better sides of Brexit.

No country before has invoked article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. The British prime minister gained royal assent last week, after a Supreme Court ruling forced her to seek the approval of both Houses of Parliament. Theresa May is expected to address MPs in a statement to the House of Commons, following her regular weekly session of prime minister’s questions on the 29th March.

Sources from Downing Street denied that May plans a snap election, in contrary with information coming from The Times and Politico.eu. The two news outlets wrote about the possibility of holding a snap election at the same time as the mayoral and local council elections in 4th May. A spokesman for Theresa May said that “it’s not going to happen, there is a Fixed Term Parliamentary Act, the prime minister is getting on with delivering the will of the British people.”