29th March 2017

Responding to today's submission by the Government of Article 50, triggering the start of negotiations over the UK's departure from the EU, Ashley Fox, leader of Conservative MEPs in the European Parliament, said:

"Today's welcome move signals the end of the pre-negotiation phase. We can now begin serious talks over the practicalities of Britain's departure from the EU and the nature of our future relationship with the remaining 27 Member States.

"I sense the overriding mood in Brussels is one of determination to strike a deal as quickly as possible that is fair to both sides and recognises we will continue to be close trading partners and allies after Brexit.

"That said, it will not be easy and a spirit of compromise is going to be required. Let's now tone down the rhetoric and allow our negotiators to get on with the job. It helps no-one if the talks are accompanied by a chorus of political heckling from the sidelines.

"Throughout the process Conservative MEPs will continue to represent the UK's interests and do all we can to ensure the negotiations reach a successful conclusion, voting on the final deal when it is brought before the European Parliament.

"It is time to begin shaping a prosperous new future for our country."

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