Sterling has strengthened to its highest level of the day after the UK’s momentous decision to formally withdraw from the EU.

The British government has formally invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in the last few minutes, kicking off at least two years of exit talks to determine its new trading and constitutional relationship with the bloc.

The pound accelerated its gains on the news, rising to $1.2469 against the dollar – 0.14 per cent stronger on the day and recovering from a 0.3 per cent drop earlier in the morning.

Notifying MPs of the move, Theresa May said the UK would seek a “partnership of values, interests, cooperation in security and economic affairs” with Europe.

“We are not leaving Europe. We will be a committed partner”, said the prime minister who said she was seeking a deal that “works for us all”.

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