Prime Minister Theresa May is determined to push ahead with Britain’s exit from the European Union, despite a vote in parliament and a legal challenge that are seen as ways to stall the country’s triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which will start the process.
Most ministers and MPs want parliament to have the final say before the article is triggered by the May government, in the hope that pro-EU MPs would vote against such a motion. A majority of MPs had campaigned to remain in the EU.
But Downing Street told the Telegraph on Saturday that May is committed to her formulation after the June 23 EU referendum vote that “Brexit means Brexit”, and would not offer opponents the opportunity to stall the country’s withdrawal from the bloc.
A Downing Street source told the daily: “The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear that the British public have voted and now she will get on with delivering Brexit.”
May has previously indicated the exit process will commence in early 2017.
A case has also been filed in the high court, arguing that Article 50 cannot be triggered until the European Communities Act 1972 is repealed to allow it. That would theoretically allow MPs to stall the process. The case will be heard in October.
A significant section of the Labour Party continues to believe that leader Jeremy Corbyn did not campaign strongly enough to stay in the EU before the referendum. His rival in the ongoing party leadership election, Owen Smith, has promised a stronger stand.
Promising to block Article 50 in parliament, he said: “Under my leadership, Labour won't give the Tories a blank cheque. We will vote in Parliament to block any attempt to invoke Article 50 until Theresa May commits to a second referendum or a general election on whatever the EU exit deal emerges at the end of the process. I hope Jeremy will support me in such a move."