No change over Brexit, insists Theresa May as party MP quits
British Prime Minister Theresa May found herself facing new obstacles on Friday after a party MP resigned over “irreconcilable differences” with her government over Brexit. May insisted there would be no change in the timetable to leave the European Union.world Updated: Nov 04, 2016 19:24 IST
British Prime Minister Theresa May found herself facing new obstacles on Friday after her party MP Stephen Phillips resigned because of “irreconcilable differences” with her government over Brexit.
May, however, insisted there would be no change in the timetable to leave the European Union.
May told European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and German Chancellor Angela Merkel over phone that she was disappointed with Thursday’s high court ruling that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty could not be triggered without parliamentary approval.
However, a prime minister’s spokesperson said May told the leaders there was no change in the March 2017 deadline she had set to invoke Article 50, which would set off a two-year process to leave the EU. The government hopes the Supreme Court will overturn the high court’s verdict.
The Conservative Party’s slender majority in the House of Commons was further reduced after Phillips announced his resignation. Another party MP, Zac Goldsmith, resigned last week over the government’s decision to opt for a third runway at Heathrow.
Phillips, the MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham in Lincolnshire since 2010, supported leaving the EU but said he could not represent constituents due to disagreements with ministers about their approach since the June 23 referendum in which Britons voted to exit the EU.
In a statement, he said: "It has become clear to me over the last few months that my growing and very significant policy differences with the current government mean that I am unable properly to represent the people who elected me.
"This decision has been a difficult one and I hope that everyone will respect the fact that I have tried to act in the best interests of all of my constituents."
The spokesperson said May explained to Juncker and Merkel that “while the government is disappointed by the judgment yesterday, we remain of the firm belief that we have strong legal arguments ahead of the case which will be moving to the Supreme Court next month”.
“The prime minister also confirmed that the planned timetable for notification of Article 50 remains the same,” the spokesperson said.
Asked if May agreed with cabinet minister Sajid Javid that the judgment was “unacceptable”, the spokesperson said: “The very fact that we are appealing that decision means very clearly that we don’t accept that decision.”