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UK PM May promises EU exit 'in full' despite legal challenge

Updated: 2016-11-07 09:15


UK PM May promises EU exit 'in full' despite legal challenge

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May holds a news conference after the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium October 21, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday 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 begin a two-year divorce process by the end of March 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 that 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 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 revealing her strategy for the talks would weaken Britain's negotiating position and that members of parliament who regretted the referendum result "need to accept what the people decided".

The Daily Mirror reported the head of Britain's opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, had said he would vote against the commencement of divorce talks with the EU if the government does not agree to his Brexit demands.

He later tweeted that he would not try to block the process.

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 before leaving on a trade visit to India on Sunday.

The court ruling triggered an angry response from some lawmakers and newspapers, with minister Sajid Javid calling it an "unacceptable" attempt to "frustrate the will of the British people", while The Daily Mail said the three judges who handed down the ruling were "enemies of the people".

May said she believed in the value of the independence of the judiciary, as well as a free press.

"These both underpin our democracy and they are important," she told reporters on the plane to India.

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