Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

May Announces Brexit Timetable as British Pound Tumbles

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

May Announces Brexit Timetable as British Pound Tumbles

Article excerpt

In a Sunday speech to her Conservative Party's annual conference, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she will pull the trigger on Article 50 - the clause established in the 2007 Treaty of Lisbon, which allows countries to divorce from the European Union - by March of 2017, an announcement followed by a drop in the value of the pound sterling, as it fell to some of the lowest post-Brexit levels yet.

"We will invoke Article 50 no later than the end of March next year," Ms. May told the conference in Birmingham, according to Reuters. "Parliament put the decision to leave or remain inside the EU in the hands of the people. And the people gave their answer with emphatic clarity."

May went on to further suggest that at present, full economic access to Europe - Britain's largest trading partner - was a lower priority than gaining sovereign control over the country's immigration.

"We will do what independent, sovereign countries do. We will decide for ourselves how we control immigration. And we will be free to pass our own laws," said May, according to The Telegraph.

Britain is "a country with the self-confidence and the freedom to look beyond the continent of Europe and to the economic and diplomatic opportunities of the wider world," she said, mentioning possibilities for free trade deals beyond the continent.

Following the Birmingham speech, however, the value of the pound plummeted to a three-year low against the euro, and its lowest value against the dollar since early July, shortly after the Brexit vote originally passed.

That initial decision led to immediate economic turmoil as the world financial markets recoiled following a newfound sense of uncertainty over future trade arrangements with Britain, which currently stands as the world's fifth-largest economy. The recent drop in the pound's value comes as major investment banks see May and her cabinet as beginning to steer the country toward a so- called hard Brexit, in which the country would sacrifice membership in the single market in order to retain more control over immigration. …

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