PM embarks on tour of Britain ahead of triggering Brexit

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Prime Minister Theresa May embarked Monday on a tour of Britain as part of her ongoing engagement with devolved regions ahead of triggering Article 50 to exit the European Union.

May is going to trigger the Article 50 on March 29, formally starting the country's exit from the European Union, local media reported. The move, which comes nine months after a referendum, will officially start the two year process of negotiations about the UK's EU exit

May's tour started in Wales, and will be followed by visits to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Downing Street said in London the tour was part of a series of visits around Britain to enable the prime minister to engage and listen to people from across the nation as it prepares to leave the EU.

The visit to Wales came as one of the main industrial cities in Wales, Swansea, signed an historic City Deal which is expected to create more than 9,000 jobs and trigger almost 1.3 billion pounds (1.62 billion U.S. dollars) in investment.

The city deal, formed between the British government, local authorities and the Welsh government, will pave the way for major infrastructure investment in the Swansea City Bay region, ranging from research centres to a new waterfront digital district.

May, accompanied by the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David Davis and the Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns, met with the Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones. as well as representatives from a range of sectors and businesses.

Downing Street added: "The main point of discussion will be how every part of the UK -- including Wales -- can make the most of the opportunities offered by Brexit. The Welsh export market is worth around 12.3 billion pounds a year."

Ahead of her departure Monday morning, May said: "From my first day on the steps of Downing Street, I made clear my determination to strengthen and sustain the precious union. I have also been clear that as we leave the European Union I will work to deliver a deal that works for the whole of the UK. I want every part of the United Kingdom to be able to make the most of the opportunities ahead."

May's tour will also take her to Scotland where the Scottish Parliament will be voting Wednesday after a two-day debate whether to back a new independence referendum to form a breakaway country outside of the United Kingdom.

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon wants a referendum before a final Brexit deal is sealed with Brussels. May has said now is not the time for Scotland to vote on independence, preferring to wait until after Brexit before deciding.

Media in Scotland was Monday focusing on what currency Scotland would adopt if it became independent, with choice ranging from the pound sterling to a new currency, though Scotland's former first minister, the SNP's Alex Salmond, has ruled out the euro as a currency in Scotland.

The Evening Standard in London reported Monday that a latest opinion poll shows support for Scottish independence is lower today than it was in 2014 when the first independence poll was held.

The poll puts backing for Scottish independence at 44 percent, one point lower than when the question was put to Scotland two-and-a-half years ago, while a majority (56 percent) would vote to remain in the United Kingdom.

Scottish voters backed remaining in the EU by 62 percent to 38 percent in the Brexit vote last June, compared to the final result for the whole of Britain of 52 percent to 48 percent.

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