PM says gov’t to launch Brexit by April

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

BRI­TAIN WILL trig­ger the for­mal process for leav­ing the Euro­pean Union (EU) be­fore April, Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May said on Sun­day, putting to rest weeks of spec­u­la­tion on the tim­ing of the move.

May con­firmed her plans in an in­ter­view with the BBC be­fore a speech at her Con­ser­va­tive Party’s an­nual con­fer­ence in Birmingham.

While the prime min­is­ter pre­vi­ously had hinted she planned to ini­ti­ate Bri­tain’s EU exit early next year, many ob­servers had spec­u­lated she would wait un­til France’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion ends in May. Bri­tain voted in a June ref­er­en­dum to leave the EU, but has not for­mally no­ti­fied the bloc of its in­ten­tions by in­vok­ing the ar­ti­cle of the EU treaty that would trig­ger ne­go­ti­a­tions. Do­ing so will launch two years of talks to work out the de­tails of Bri­tain’s fu­ture re­la­tion­ship with the sin­gle mar­ket.

While the two-year timetable is man­dated by the EU treaty, it can be ex­tended by a unan­i­mous vote of the re­main­ing mem­bers of the bloc.

May also said she would ask Par­lia­ment to re­peal the Euro­pean Com­mu­ni­ties Act, which au­to­mat­i­cally makes EU rules the law of the land in Bri­tain. May said her gov­ern­ment, in­stead, would in­cor­po­rate all EU laws into Bri­tish law and then re­peal mea­sures as nec­es­sary on a case-by-case ba­sis.

“That means that the United King­dom will be an in­de­pen­dent, sov­er­eign na­tion,” she said. “It will be mak­ing its own laws.”

May said that by of­fer­ing a timetable now, she hopes to en­cour­age the two sides to en­gage in pre­lim­i­nary work that would help the ne­go­ti­a­tions go smoothly once they be­gin. EU lead­ers so far have re­jected any such dis­cus­sions.

The pres­i­dent of the 28-na­tion EU’s gov­ern­ing Euro­pean Coun­cil, Don­ald Tusk, of­fered a tweet in sup­port of her po­si­tion. He had told her at a re­cent Down­ing Street meet­ing that the “ball is now in your court”.

“PM May’s dec­la­ra­tion brings wel­come clar­ity on start of Brexit talks,” he tweeted Sun­day. “Once Art 50’s trig­gered, EU27 will en­gage to safe­guard its in­ter­ests.”

AP

Pro­test­ers bran­dish var­i­ous plac­ards and signs as they gather at an anti-aus­ter­ity demon­stra­tion out­side the Con­ser­va­tive Party con­fer­ence in Birmingham, Eng­land, on Sun­day.

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