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Prime Minister Theresa May invokes Article 50
Published:  29 March, 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May has officially triggered Article 50, signalling the United Kingdom’s intent to exit the European Union. 

In a statement to Parliament, she formally announced the beginning of the process.

She said: “This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back - Britain is leaving the European Union - we're going to make our own decisions and our own laws, we're going to take control of the things that matter most to us. And we're going to take this opportunity to build a stronger and fairer Britain that our children and grandchildren are proud to call home.”

On trade, she pledged to “pursue a bold and ambitious free trade agreement with the EU”.

May also earmarked non-EU trade agreements as a priority. “As important as trade with the EU is and will remain, it is clear the UK needs to increase significantly its trade with the fastest growing markets in the world.”

On EU nationals working in the UK, she said: “We seek to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in Britain as early as we can and ensure workers’ rights.”

Earlier today May had signed the letter to the EU, with Sir Tim Barrow, Britain’s permanent representative to the EU, hand delivering it to Donald Tusk, head of the European Council.

Tusk tweeted that he had officially received the letter from Barrow.

With the triggering of Article 50, the UK will formally cease to be a member of the EU exactly two years from now. What happens next is the process of negotiating the exit. If negotiations take longer than two years, an extension can be granted if all parties agree. Any deal struck will go through both Houses of Parliament.

Key areas of focus for the meat industry during the negotiations are trading access and labour. For more on the industry’s demands from the Brexit process, click here