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Brexit begins: Unique relationship with Republic and importance of Northern Ireland peace recognised in Theresa May Article 50 letter

Northern Ireland will have more powers outside EU, says Prime Minister as Article 50 triggered

The Prime Minister's letter formally beginning the UK's departure from the European Union has recognised the unique relationship between the UK and the Republic of Ireland and the importance of maintaining peace in Northern Ireland.

Theresa May said Northern Ireland and the other devolved regions would have more powers and she wants a "truly global Britain" after exiting the EU. The historic declaration, signed by Theresa May, sets in train a two-year process of negotiation under Article 50 of the EU treaties leading to Britain's expected withdrawal after 46 years of membership in 2019.

Addressing the Commons, she said reaffirmed her commitment to ensuring there was "no return to the borders of the past".

On the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, she wrote:  "We must pay attention to the UK’s unique relationship with the Republic of Ireland and the importance of the peace process in Northern Ireland.

"We want to avoid a return to a hard border between our two countries, to be able to maintain the Common Travel Area between us, and to make sure that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU does not harm the Republic of Ireland. We also have an important responsibility to make sure that nothing is done to jeopardise the peace process in Northern Ireland, and to continue to uphold the Belfast Agreement."

How historic day unfolded:


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