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Britain triggers Brexit

The letter informing the European Council of Britain's intention to leave the European Union was handed over to EC president Donald Tusk in Brussels on Wednesday.

The historic declaration, signed by Prime Minister Theresa May, sets in train a two-year process of negotiation under Article 50 of the EU treaties leading to Britain's expected withdrawal after 46 years of membership in 2019.

Mrs May told MPs it was "an historic moment from which there can be no turning back", while Mr Tusk said: "We already miss you."

In her letter to Mr Tusk, the prime minister wrote:

  • that the UK wants to agree with the EU a "deep and special partnership" that takes in economic and security cooperation
  • she believes it is necessary to agree the terms of the future partnership "alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU"
  • that in the case that no deal is reached "both sides would of course cope with the change", but that "it is not the outcome that either side should seek"
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Farage celebrates Article 50 triggering by heading to pub

Nigel Farage has celebrated the triggering of Article 50 by going to the pub for a pint.

The former UKIP leader said it was a "big day" and he was having a "minor celebration".

He added: "Every day is a sad day in the European Union because every single day that goes by opposition to the project grows amongst all 28 member states.

"The European Union may have been a good idea 60 years ago. It doesn't work anymore."

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