Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May signs the official letter to European Council President Donald Tusk that will launch Brexit   © POOL/AFP CHRISTOPHER FURLONG

By Oladapo Okeowo with agency report

British Prime Minister Theresa May will file formal Brexit divorce papers on Wednesday, nine months after Britons voted to end their 44-year membership of the European Union (EU).

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She signed the Brexit letter today amidst calls for a referendum by the Scots who did not vote to leave the EU and would rather stay in the bloc than stand alone.

“The mandate for a referendum is beyond question, and it would be democratically indefensible — and utterly unsustainable — to attempt to stand in the way of it,” Sturgeon is quoted to have said.

The submission of the letter to EU President Donald Tusk would kickstart a two-year process that would culminate in Britain fully exiting the Union.

Tim Barrow, Britain’s ambassador to the EU, will deliver the letter by hand to Tusk.

May on Tuesday evening made separate phone calls to Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In a speech published in advance by Downing Street, the Prime Minister in her Parliament address will acknowledge that closeness and divisive nature of the June Brexit vote.

“We are one great union of people and nations with a proud history and a bright future.  And, now that the decision has been made to leave the EU, it is time to come together,” she will say.

The negotiations ar expected to be firm and probably harsh as the rise of anti-EU parties all across the continent, the EU must not be seen to be offering favourable terms to Britain, thereby encouraging other member states to follow the British example and leave.