Brexit officially begins with the UK Prime Minister Theresa May sending Brussels a letter formally notifying the EU that it is beginning the exit process. Mia Womersley reports.
British Prime Minister Theresa May at last firing the starting gun for Brexit on Wednesday. Her letter to Brussels delivered at lunchtime by the British ambassador to the EU, Tim Barrow... That officially launches the UK's withdrawal from the European Union under Article 50. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT, DONALD TUSK, SAYING: "We already miss you. Thank you and goodbye." And May telling the House of Commons that this marks the moment the country must 'come together'. Since Britons voted for Brexit in a referendum last June, the scale of the challenge - and the UK's demands - have steadily become clear. Both a so-called "hard Brexit", and the "best possible deal" in May's sights. But May has revealed more of her battle lines than her tactics. One early obstacle to having it all: an "exit bill" that could run to tens of billions of euros. SOUNDBITE (English) GARVAN WALSHE, CEO, BREXIT ANALYTICS, SAYING: "I think the best-case scenario is actually the two-year time frame is up, people think 'oh, we've got ourselves into a terrible mess here, let's extend the negotiations'. Article 50 allows those negotiations to be extended. There's no realistic possibility of getting a full, comprehensive, deep trade deal by 2019. If the negotiations are extended, the political situation could change, and the British people might develop a more realistic understanding of their negotiating position and their weak bargaining power." Westminster has two years to secure a deal. After months of wrangling and speculation, the UK's phoney Brexit war is finally getting real.