The UK voted to leave the European Union in the EU Referendum on the 23 June 2016

The rules for exiting the EU are set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. The UK government has now triggered Article 50 on the 29 March 2017 and negotiations will now begin on preparing the UK to leave the EU.

The UK government want to establish a new strategic partnership between the UK and the EU. “We are leaving the EU but we are not leaving Europe; we will stay reliable partners, willing allies, and close friends. We want a strong UK, working together with a strong EU in pursuit of our shared values and delivering for ordinary working people in the UK and in the EU”.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s letter to Donald Tusk triggering Article 50

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Below: Theresa May’s statement in Parliament on her letter notifying the European Council President of the UK’s intention to leave the EU.

Below: Donald Tusk, Head of the European Council responds to Article 50 letter. “What can I add to this? We already miss you.”

The government’s negotiating objectives for exiting the EU: PM Teresa May’s speech.

The Brexit White Paper:
This White Paper provides Parliament and the country with a clear vision of what the UK is seeking to achieve in negotiating an exit from, and new partnership with, the European Union.

The Great Repeal Bill White Paper sets out the government’s proposals for ensuring a functioning statute book once we have left the EU.

Voting Requirements
Article 50 (TEU) states that the withdrawal agreement “shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament”. The meaning of “qualified majority” in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union is at least 72% of the Council representing Member States comprising at least 65% of the population of these states. In practice this means that at least 20 countries must be in favour of the withdrawal agreement. The European Council vote will take place following the ratification of the European Parliament, which will vote on the basis of simple majority.

The UK Government has made a commitment to give Parliament a vote on the final Brexit deal. While this will provide an opportunity for the withdrawal agreement to be debated in Parliament, the vote will not be legally binding.

Key Brexit Personnel

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Potential negotiating timetable

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Northern Ireland and Brexit