Brexit talks likely to begin in early 2017, Johnson says

In an interview with the BBC, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has suggested that the UK will begin formal negotiations to leave the EU in early 2017.

Johnson told the BBC: “The government is working towards an Article 50 letter which as you know will be produced, probably, in the early part of next year.

"That's still subject for discussion but what is clear I think to our friends and partners in the EU is two broad principles: we are not leaving Europe;

"Although we are leaving the EU treaties, we do want to have the closest possible trading relationship and it's very much in their interests to achieve that... it's very much in their interests to do a great free trade deal with us, and I think that will happen."

Ahead of his visit to Britain, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, said: "The future deal between the EU and the UK must be good for all sides and must be one which allows the UK and the EU to keep working closely together on various aspects."

He added: "In London I will also stress why the European Parliament favours the earliest possible triggering of Article 50, which is a pre-condition to opening negotiations."

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