PM May vows to de­liver EU exit

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

LON­DON: Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May said yes­ter­day she would de­liver a full exit from the Euro­pean Union, hit­ting back at crit­ics of her Brexit strat­egy who have threat­ened to try to block the process in par­lia­ment. The gov­ern­ment’s plans to launch a two-year di­vorce process by the end of March next year were thrown into dis­ar­ray last week when a court ruled that par­lia­ment must be con­sulted on the de­ci­sion. May has said she is con­fi­dent of over­turn­ing the rul­ing.

Nev­er­the­less, the prospect of a par­lia­men­tary vote has en­raged euroscep­tic law­mak­ers who fear the ‘hard Brexit’ they want will be wa­tered down, and em­bold­ened po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents who want a less rad­i­cal split from the bloc.

Writ­ing in the Sun­day Tele­graph news­pa­per, May sig­naled she would re­sist any at­tempt to force her to change her ap­proach to leav­ing the EU, a his­toric break that was ap­proved by 52 per­cent of Bri­tons in a ref­er­en­dum in June. “The peo­ple made their choice, and did so de­ci­sively. It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the gov­ern­ment to get on with the job and to carry out their in­struc­tion in full,” May wrote.

She said mem­bers of par­lia­ment who re­gret­ted the ref­er­en­dum re­sult “need to ac­cept what the peo­ple de­cided”. The head of Bri­tain’s op­po­si­tion Labour Party, Jeremy Cor­byn, said in a news­pa­per in­ter­view that he would try to block the com­mence­ment of di­vorce talks with the EU if the gov­ern­ment does not agree to his Brexit de­mands.

May’s gov­ern­ment, which has given lit­tle away about its plans for Bri­tain’s fu­ture re­la­tion­ship with the EU, has said that hav­ing to set out a de­tailed ne­go­ti­at­ing strat­egy to par­lia­ment would put it at a dis­ad­van­tage in the talks. “While oth­ers seek to tie our ne­go­ti­at­ing hands, the Gov­ern­ment will get on with the job of de­liv­er­ing the de­ci­sion of the Bri­tish peo­ple,” May said in a sep­a­rate state­ment ahead of a trade visit to In­dia yes­ter­day.

Half-Brexit

Arch-euroscep­tic Nigel Farage, who led the in­flu­en­tial UK In­de­pen­dence Party’s Brexit cam­paign, said there was a grow­ing move­ment to keep Bri­tain within the EU’s tar­iff-free sin­gle mar­ket - a sce­nario he called a “half-Brexit” that went against the ref­er­en­dum re­sult. “If the peo­ple in this coun­try think that they’re go­ing to be cheated, they’re go­ing to be be­trayed, then we will see po­lit­i­cal anger the likes of which none of us in our life­times have ever wit­nessed in this coun­try,” he told the BBC. Par­lia­ment could in the­ory block Brexit be­cause most mem­bers sup­ported stay­ing in the EU in June’s ref­er­en­dum. But many law­mak­ers have sig­nalled they would be will­ing to re­verse their po­si­tion to re­flect the ref­er­en­dum re­sult.

“I think it is highly un­likely that par­lia­ment would not, in the end, back a de­ci­sion to trig­ger Ar­ti­cle 50,” health min­is­ter Jeremy Hunt told the BBC, re­fer­ring to the EU treaty mech­a­nism for launch­ing di­vorce pro­ceed­ings. Last week’s court rul­ing could al­low law­mak­ers to tem­per the gov­ern­ment’s ap­proach, how­ever, mak­ing a “hard Brexit” - where tight con­trols on im­mi­gra­tion are pri­or­i­tized over re­main­ing in the sin­gle mar­ket - less likely. Cor­byn told the Sun­day Mir­ror that Labour’s “Brexit bot­tom line” would re­quire guar­an­tees for ac­cess to the sin­gle mar­ket for ex­porters, con­tin­ued pro­tec­tion of work­ers’ rights, safe­guards for con­sumers and the en­vi­ron­ment, and pledges that Bri­tain would make up any loss of EU cap­i­tal in­vest­ment. Cor­byn said he would wel­come an early na­tional elec­tion if May re­fused to meet his de­mands. But the next one is not due un­til 2020, and the gov­ern­ment has so far re­sisted pres­sure to dis­solve par­lia­ment and seek a stronger man­date. “I think a gen­eral elec­tion is frankly the last thing that the gov­ern­ment wants .. It’s the last thing that the Bri­tish peo­ple want,” Hunt said. A gov­ern­ment ap­peal against the High Court rul­ing is ex­pected to be con­sid­ered by Bri­tain’s Supreme Court early next month. May has said she still plans to in­voke Ar­ti­cle 50 by the end of March. “We need to turn our minds to how we get the best out­come for our coun­try,” she said in the state­ment is­sued by her of­fice. “That means stick­ing to our plan and timetable, get­ting on with the work of de­vel­op­ing our ne­go­ti­at­ing strat­egy and not put­ting all our cards on the ta­ble - that is not in our na­tional in­ter­est and it won’t help us get the best deal for Bri­tain.”

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