The Article 50 letter written by Theresa May that kicked off the Brexit process travelled to Brussels first class on a Eurostar train, it has been revealed.
It took two civil servants travelling in “business premier” class to take the letter to the European Council on 29 March 2017, at a cost of £491.50 per person.
A response to a freedom of information request posted on the Foreign Office website shows the total cost of delivering the letter was £985.50, including a £1.50 per person booking fee. The letter did not get its own seat.
Eurostar tickets from London to Brussels are available as little as £29 each way if booked well in advance, suggesting the practicalities of delivering the letter were not sorted out until the last minute.
Alternatively Royal Mail offers a guaranteed next day delivery service for letters from Britain to Belgium for £6.45 each.
The two civil servants escorting the letter handed it to Sir Tim Barrow, the UK’s ambassador to the EU, who delivered it to European Council president Donald Tusk.
Upon receiving the letter Mr Tusk said: “We already miss you. Thank you and goodbye.”
Donald Tusk tells UK ‘we already miss you’ after Article 50 triggered
Ms May’s letter to Mr Tusk insisted that the decision to leave the EU was “no rejection of the values we share as fellow Europeans” and that “nor was it an attempt to do harm to the European Union or any of the remaining member states”.
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The FOI response states: “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 Residence.
“The letter was then delivered to the President of the European Council by Sir Tim Barrow as part of his duties as UK Permanent Representative to the European Union at no additional cost.”