The British government is setting up a special unit to lead the UK’s negotiations to leave the European Union, outgoing prime minister David Cameron told the House of Commons on Monday afternoon.
Speaking in parliament for the first time since he announced his resignation on Friday, following the UK’s vote for Brexit, Cameron said that he and his cabinet agreed on Monday morning to create a unit within Whitehall designed specifically to lead and advise the government on European Union exit talks once they commence.
The unit will be created with collaboration between the cabinet office, treasury, foreign office, and several other arms of the civil service.
However, Cameron said that there are no plans to trigger Article 50 — the clause that will begin the process of the UK leaving the EU — until he has left office, and a new prime minister is in place. That is expected to occur by September.
“The British government will not be triggering Article 50 at this stage … this is our sovereign decision and it will be for Britain, and Britain alone, to take.”
Cameron also said that there is no question of voiding the result of the referendum, saying: “There can be no doubt about the result … I am clear, and the cabinet agreed this morning, that the decision must be accepted.”
He continued: “Britain is leaving the European Union but we must not turn our back on Europe or the rest of the world. We have to determine the kind of relationship we want with the EU.”
Britain must “hold fast to a vision that wants to be respected abroad, tolerant at home, engaged in the world and working with our international partners to advance security and prosperity of the nation for generations to come,” Cameron added.
Before beginning his statement, Cameron joked that new MP, Rosena Allin-Khan, who was sworn in as the member for Tooting, should be prepared to take a role in Labour’s shadow cabinet, following the massive turmoil in the party over the past two days.
“I’d advise her to keep her phone on. She might be in the shadow cabinet by the end of the day,” Cameron said.
Notably, prominent Leave campaigner, and the favourite to be the next Conservative party leader, Boris Johnson was not present in the Commons chamber during the speech.
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