The date is set: On Wednesday 29 March Theresa May is triggering Article 50. 

This morning, Sir Tim Barrow, the UK’s ambassador to the EU, notified the EU that a letter will be sent on the 29 March, next Wednesday. Shortly after this, May will make a statement in the House of Commons.

After today’s visit in Swansea, May hopes to visit Northern Ireland and Scotland before sending her notification letter to the EU on the 29 March.

The Brexit secretary, David Davis, has called the process of the withdrawal “the most important negotiation for this country in a generation.” He added: “The Government is clear in its aims: a deal that works for every nation and region of the UK and indeed for all of Europe – a new, positive partnership between the UK and our friends and allies in the European Union.”

After the 29 March, the EU council president Donald Tusk will call an EU summit without the UK, where the 27 EU countries will agree on the official direction the European Commission will take in its negotiations with the UK. Then, the European Commission will publish a set of guidelines for the negotiations based on the 27 EU member states’ orders. In April or May the negotiations will begin. EU will also be dealing with the French presidential elections (23 April and 7May) and German parliamentary elections (24 September). By the end of September, EU laws will become British laws, and by the end of October the negotiations will be over. Unless there is an agreed extension of the deadline. 

If negotiations last for two years after article 50 is triggered, then the UK will be officially a non-EU country in March 2019.