The news was announced by British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday in the House of Commons.
“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 (EU).
“This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back,” May announced.
The historic moment occurred when a letter signed by the British Prime Minister was handed to the European Council President Donald Tusk on Wednesday morning. The letter officially notified the EU of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the body.
Tusk confirmed the moment with a tweet saying, “After nine months the UK has delivered. #Brexit.”
A process of negotiation between Britain and the 27 members of the EU will now begin to disentangle existing relations. At the same time, the British prime minister will have to push a complex legislative programme through Parliament. The process is expected to take two years.
May’s announcement was met with cheers from the Conservative benches, but others have not been as happy about the move.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has warned the ruling party that they would not allow the government to turn the country into a tax haven for multinational corporations.
“Britain is going to change as a result of leaving the European Union, the question is how. There are Conservatives who want to use Brexit to turn this country into a low-wage tax haven. Labour is determined to invest in high skill, high tech, high wage future, to rebuild and transform Britain so that no one and no community is left behind,” Corbyn told the House of Commons.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron accused May of “twisting the will of the people, saying that the referendum outcome did not give her the right to exit the single market.
“The world needs liberal democratic values – this is something Churchill, Thatcher and others rightly decided that Britain could deliver from our place at the heart of Europe. I believe the Prime Minister is twisting the will of the people, leaping into the abyss without any idea of where our country will end up. In her statement the Prime Minister admitted we would lose influence as a result,” he said.
Nevertheless, Brexit has begun and as Theresa May said in her announcement, there can be no turning back.
Watch Theresa May make the announcement…