May says has triggered Article 50 to begin Brexit process

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks in Parliament as she announces that she has sent the letter to trigger the process of leaving the European Union in London, March 29, 2017. Parliament TV handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has formally triggered the process of leaving the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday.

European Council President Donald Tusk received a letter from the British ambassador to the EU on Wednesday. The notification letter, handed over in Tusk’s Brussels office in the presence of journalists, triggers a two-year countdown to Brexit under Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty. [nB5N1CU022]

“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,” May told parliament.

May said Britain would seek to agree its future partnership with the bloc alongside the withdrawal terms.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, Elizabeth Piper and William James, editing by Estelle Shirbon