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Like a dream happening before the whole world’s very eyes, British Prime Minister Theresa May has officially signed the letter that will ensure Britain’s exit from the European Union. While speaking at the UK parliament after the country’s ambassador formally handed over the activation letter to the EU in Brussels, May said it was a “unique opportunity” to “shape a brighter future” for the UK.
Donald Tusk, European Council president, confirmed the receipt of the latter, via a tweet: “After nine months the UK has delivered. #Brexit”.
In case you are wondering what article 50 is. It is the Treaty of Lisbon that gives any European Union Member the right to quit unilaterally, and outlines the procedure for doing so. It gives the leaving country two years to negotiate an exit deal and the moment it is set in motion, it cannot be stopped except by unanimous consent of all members states.
This is the path Britain and her people have officially toed by triggering article 50. The referendum that set Brexit in motion last year does not automatically signal the country’s exit. That decision could have been reversed had it been article 50 had not been triggered. Now, the Britain must leave the EU. For the next two years or more, Britain will negotiate a deal for leaving the EU.
In a statement in the Commons, the prime minister said: “Today the government acts on the democratic will of the British people and it acts too on the clear and convincing position of this House.”
She added: “The Article 50 process is now under way and in accordance with the wishes of the British people the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union.
“This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back.”
She said Britain would now make its own decisions and its own laws and “take control of the things that matter most to us – we are going to take this opportunity to build a stronger, fairer Britain, a country that our children and grandchildren are proud to call home”.
She told MPs that this marks “the moment for the country to come together”.