A final deal on Britain’s exit from the EU could be reached by October 2018, the European Commission’s chief negotiator says.

Setting out the European Commission’s plans for the first time, Michel Barnier said: “Time will be short. It is clear that the period of actual negotiations will be shorter than two years.”

Mr Barnier said that if Britain triggers Article 50 by the end of March – as Theresa May has said she wants to do – an agreement would be needed by October of the following year in order to get it through the European Parliament in time for March 2019.

pressing ahead with invoking Article 50 after the High Court ruled that the Government must put such a move to a vote by MPs.

He said the process would be “legally complicated, politically sensitive and have very important consequences for our people”.

On triggering Article 50, he said: “The European Union is ready to receive the notification. We are ready. Keep calm and negotiate.”

He added: “It’s up to the British to say what relations they want and up to the 27 to define their future relations with Britain.”.. see more