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UK PM May to trigger Brexit on March 29: spokesman

UK PM May to trigger Brexit on March 29: spokesman

The move will formally trigger Britain's exit from the European Union following a referendum in June a year ago.

On the EU side of things the European Commission will lead negotiations, but the final agreement will require consent from European Parliament, which consists of hundreds of MEPs from every member of the EU.

"We are on the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation", Brexit secretary David Davis said.

Once prime minister Theresa May officially invokes Article 50 next week, she is expected to make a statement to the House of Commons.

May, 60, hopes to negotiate terms that keep trade, financial and political relations with European Union member states as close as possible after Brexit, but also satisfy euroskeptics in her Conservative Party who demand a complete break from an institution they say has stolen British sovereignty.

European Union officials have previously said that a notification just before May's self-imposed end-March deadline could mean a summit in early May was the most likely timing.

A special summit had been pencilled in for April 6 but Britain's timetable means this has now been pushed back to late April or early May, a European source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

EU President Donald Tusk, who is responsible for calling summits, said he would issue the draft guidelines within 48 hours of Britain triggering its exit.

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty sets out how an EU country might voluntarily leave the union.

"The government is clear in its aims: a deal that works for every nation and region of the United Kingdom and indeed for all of Europe -- a new, positive partnership between the United Kingdom and our friends and allies in the European Union", Davis said.

The move comes nine months after people voted 51.9% to 48.1% in a referendum.

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