Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May says she will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty before the end of March 2017, a two-year process that will divorce the UK from the European Union.
Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, May said she wanted to have good relations with EU countries once Britain left and owed it to UK business to get the right deal for trade in goods and services.
When asked when she would invoke Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, May told the BBC's Andrew Marr show: "We will trigger before the end of March next year."
She said that once Article 50 had been triggered, it would be up to the rest of the EU to decide how the negotiation process goes ahead.
She also said the June 23 referendum vote to leave the EU vote contained a clear message that the British public wanted the movement of people from the rest of the EU to be controlled.
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Earlier she announced a "Great Repeal Bill" to end the authority of EU law once Britain leaves the union.
The legislation will overturn laws that make EU regulations supreme, enshrine all EU rules in domestic law and confirm the British parliament can amend them as it wants.
"This marks the first stage in the UK becoming a sovereign and independent country once again," May told The Sunday Times newspaper.
"It will return power and authority to the elected institutions of our country. It means that the authority of EU law in Britain will end."
Some 52 percent of Britons voted on June 23 to leave the EU, responding to calls by Brexit - or British exit - campaigners Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and others. However, the result unleashed immediate political and financial market turmoil in Britain.
The vote also raised questions about the future of Britain and post-World War II European integration, though the initial economic effect of the Brexit vote has been less negative than was predicted by those who campaigned to remain within the EU.
Britain first joined in the European Union in 1973.
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Britain's allies fear its exit from the EU could mark a turning point in post-Cold War international affairs that will weaken the West in relation to China and Russia, undermine efforts towards European integration, and hurt global free trade.
Some Conservative lawmakers said triggering Article 50 so early could put pressure on Britain as elections in France and Germany in 2017 could change London's negotiating partners in the middle of talks.
"Triggering Brexit as early as March really concerns me, it troubles me hugely," Anna Soubry, a Conservative who is the former small business minister, told ITV television, citing the French and German elections.