Brexit Referendum

Brexit Process to Start by End of March 2017: British PM Theresa May

LONDON - Britain’s prime minister promised Sunday to trigger the process for leaving the European Union within 6 months, putting the country on course to complete ‘Brexit’ by April 2019.

Theresa May said Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which triggers the formal withdrawal process for Brexit, will be invoked by the end of March 2017.

Image: Britain's Prime Minister May arrives at a television studio during the annual Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain
Theresa May arrives at a television studio in Birmingham early Sunday. TOBY MELVILLE / Reuters

That begins two years of negotiations – although the process could be extended if Britain and all other EU countries unanimously agree.

In a BBC interview ahead of a speech to the annual conference of her ruling Conservative Party, she said: “I have been saying that we wouldn't trigger it before the end of this year so that we get some preparation in place.

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"I will be saying in my speech today that we will trigger [Article 50] before the end of March next year."

She also announced the introduction of a "Great Repeal Bill" to that will convert European law into UK law, giving Britain’s parliament the power to keep or revoke individual regulations such as workers’ rights.