BERLIN (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday assured her German counterpart that preparations for Britain's exit from the European Union were on schedule, and that the legal process would begin by the end of March next year.
"Our work is on track, we do stand ready to trigger Article 50 before the end of March, or by the end of March 2017," she told German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a joint media briefing in Berlin ahead of a bilateral meeting.
May's comments follow persistent criticism from opposition lawmakers that the government does not have an exit strategy. There is also the possibility that her plans could be delayed by a legal decision that she must win parliamentary approval before triggering Brexit. The government's appeal against that decision will be heard in early December.
"I want to see this as a smooth process, an orderly process, working towards a solution that is in the interests of both the United Kingdom but also in the interests of our European partners too," May said.
Merkel said it would not be possible to discuss Brexit in detail during their meeting on Friday as Britain has not yet started the formal process of leaving the bloc.
(Writing by William James and Adela Suliman,; editing by Kate Holton)