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UK PM’s Historic Brexit letter cost nearly £1000 to deliver

The letter could have been delivered by mail but was delivered in person by two civil servants.

world Updated: Feb 10, 2018 21:17 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Brexit,Brexit letter,Theresa May
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May signs the official letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, in 10 Downing Street, London, Tuesday March 28, 2017, invoking Article 50 of the bloc's key treaty, the formal start of Brexit negotiations. (AP File)

It takes less than three hours by train and one hour by air to travel the distance from London to Brussels cheaply, but the six-page letter informing Brussels of the UK’s historicdecision to leave the European Union cost the British taxpayer nearly £1000.

The letter addressed to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, and signed by Prime Minister Theresa May could have been delivered by mail, but was delivered in person by two civil servants, who travelled by Eurostar in the Business Premier class to Brussels.

A freedom of information (FoI) request to the Foreign Office revealed on Fridaythat a total of £985.50 was spent on the travel of Tim Barrow, UK’s permanent representative to the EU, and an unnamed bureaucrat to deliver the historic letter dated March 29, 2017.

The FoI release added: “There were no other quantifiable costs associated with their travel. Meals were provided on the Eurostar and the two civil servants stayed overnight at the (official) Residence”.

The letter invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that stipulatesa two-year period for amember-state leaving the 28-nation bloc. The letter set in motion ongoing protracted talks to complete the UK’s exit from the EU by March 29, 2019.

First Published: Feb 10, 2018 17:58 IST