Key Brexit Dates and Information about Article 50

Key Brexit dates: 

  • January 2017: Supreme Court expected to deliver its ruling on whether Theresa May has the power to trigger Article 50 using a royal prerogative, rather than by an Act of Parliament
  • March 31, 2017: Deadline Mrs May has set for invoking Article 50 by notifying the European Council of Britain’s intention to leave the EU
  • September 30, 2018: Date by which EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, wants to wrap up terms of Britain’s exit from the Union
  • March 31, 2019: Date by which Theresa May wants to wrap up negotiations over Brexit
  • May 2019? Britain formally exits the EU, following ratification of Brexit by all other member states

What is Article 50?

  • Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon gives any EU member the right to quit unilaterally, and outlines the procedure for doing so
  • There was no way to legally leave the EU before the Treaty was signed in 2007
  • Gives the leaving country two years to negotiate an exit deal
  • Once set in motion, it cannot be stopped except by unanimous consent of all member states
  • Any deal must be approved by a “qualified majority” of EU member states and can be vetoed by the European Parliament
  • In November 2016, the High Court ruled that the Government cannot trigger Article 50 without MPs voting on the matter first


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