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UK reaches historic moment as May triggers Article 50

PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 March 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK will be leaving the EU's single market             Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Images

Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK will be leaving the EU's single market Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

The moment that has been both contested and celebrated has finally arrived - Article 50, which officially starts the Brexit process, will be triggered today.

Prime minister Theresa May will inform the European Union (EU) of the UK’s desire to leave, and begin formal Brexit negotiations.

Mrs May, who hopes to achieve a partnership beneficial to the UK, said the UK is facing one of the most significant moments in its history.

She has two years to agree a deal otherwise the UK will have to trade with high tariffs.

Article 50 was created as part of the Treaty of Lisbon – an agreement signed by all EU states for any country wishing to exit the EU.

The agreement became law in 2009, before which there was no formal mechanism for a country to leave the EU.

Any exit deal must be approved by a qualified majority – 72 per cent of the remaining 27 EU states and the backing of MEPs must also be obtained.

The UK voted to leave the EU in June last year and Mrs May Theresa May announced in October that she would trigger Article 50 by the end of March.

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