Nine months on: Theresa May has triggered Article 50, beginning the UK's exit from the EU

Emma Haslett
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The process for triggering Article 50 was formally triggered today (Source: Getty)

The UK's historic exit from the European Union finally began today after Donald Tusk formally received a letter from Theresa May triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty

The UK's ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, hand-delivered a letter signed by May to European Council president Tusk, announcing the UK's intention to quit the EU, in Brussels today.

Some 280 days - more than nine months - since the UK voted to leave the European Union, a fleet of lawyers and civil servants will now begin the two-year process of negotiating trade deals with a host of nations, including the EU itself. Whatever the final outcome of negotiations, the UK will finally shed its ties with the EU in April 2019.

The European Council must now trigger Article 218(3) of its Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, authorising the beginning of negotiations and formally appointing a lead negotiator.

Read more: Article 50: Here's what will actually happen tomorrow

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