British Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that she will formally begin the Brexit process by the end of March 2017.
Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, May said, “I’ve been saying that we wouldn’t trigger before the end of this year so that we can get some preparation in place.”
“I will be saying in my speech today that we will trigger before the end of March next year,” she added.
May’s promise means that Britain will leave the block by spring 2019, before the country’s next general elections.
When asked what would happen after triggering Article 50, May said the EU should decide how the process should continue, expressing hope that the negotiations will have a smooth process.
“It’s for the European Union – the remaining members of the EU – to decide what the process of the negotiation is,” the premier said. “I hope, that I’ll be saying to them, now they know what the timings will be, that we’ll be able to have some preparatory work so that once the trigger comes we have a smoother process of negotiation.”
In a referendum on June 23, nearly 52 percent of Britons voted to end their country’s 42-year membership in the EU.
However, Britain and the EU have been at odds over a string of issues, particularly the UK’s inclination to remain a member of the European single market after leaving the bloc.
May and Brexit Secretary, David Davis, are set to announce the government’s plan to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, which binds EU law to the British statute book, and new legislation to transpose EU legislation into British law, in its entirety.
This law will come into effect on the day that the UK leaves the bloc, enabling future governments to unpick those laws as they wish.
“This is about delivering for the British people, and this is not just about leaving the EU, it’s about that essential question of the trust people have in their politicians. The people have spoken, we will deliver on that,” May told the BBC.