Why did the United Kingdom invoke Article 50 before it had reached a negotiation position? Two years is a short time to negotiate something as complex as a withdrawal from the European Union, yet the UK Government did not agree with itself on a negotiation position until 16 months after it triggered Article 50. A brief timeline of Brexit:
- 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union
- 17 January 2017, the Prime Minister sets outs the government's objectives for the negotiations in the “Lancaster House speech”.
- 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom invokes Article 50
- June–December 2017, the UK government publishes a series of position papers in preparation for Article 50 negotiations
- 12 July 2018, the Government publishes its negotiation position, known as the Chequers plan
- 14 November 2018, The United Kingdom and the European Union negotiators reach a draft withdrawal agreement
- (16 December 2018: date of this question)
- 29 March 2019: The United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union
- 23–26 May 2019: European Parliament Election (perhaps the UK and/or the EU wanted Article 50 triggered such that UK leaves EU before those elections?)
I don't understand the timing of invoking Article 50. Why didn't the UK wait until it knew what it wanted?