Europhiles hoping to delay or derail Britain’s plan to leave the European Union just suffered a major setback.
The Telegraph is reporting that Theresa May intends to invoke Article 50 — the process by which countries begin negotiations to the European Union — without letting Parliament vote on it first.
The June referendum on Britain’s EU membership was not legally binding, creating uncertainty over whether the Prime Minister would have the authority to begin the process of leaving the 28 member state union without the British Parliament formally voting for it.
And some pro-Remain politicians and activists had viewed this as a window by which they could influence the process — either by withholding their votes until certain promises were made (freedom of movement, for example), or by refusing to vote altogether in an attempt to force Britain’s continued membership of the European Union.
But it sounds like this won’t be the case. A “Downing Street source” told The Telegraph that “the Prime Minister has been absolutely clear that the British public have voted and now she will get on with delivering Brexit.”
May has reportedly been legally advised that the Prime Minister does have the power to invoke Article 50 alone.
Owen Smith, the underdog challenger in Labour’s ongoing leadership contest, had previously said he planned to delay the start of Brexit negotiations: “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.”
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