British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks with journalists during a press conference in the garden of Villa Doria Pamphili in Rome on July 27, 2016. (AFP photo)
British Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected carrying out a second referendum or a general election to decide about Britain’s exit from the European Union.
“The prime minister is very clear there will be no second referendum," a spokesman for May said. “There is no need for a general election either,” he added.
Owen Smith, the Labour lawmaker competing against Jeremy Corbyn for party leadership, vowed under his leadership that the party will vote against invoking Article 50 of the EU Treaty in Parliament, until the Conservatives commit to asking the British public to approve any final Brexit deal.
May will invoke Article 50 without a vote in Parliament, The Telegraphreported on Friday. Article 50 is the two-year formal process for the exit of countries from the EU.
The prime minister is expected to invoke Article 50 in early 2017.
A group of lawyers has initiated a legal challenge in an attempt to force May to hold a parliamentary vote. The case, which will be heard in the High Court in October, argues that Article 50 cannot be invoked until the European Communities Act of 1972 is revoked.
The majority of lawmakers in the lower house of Parliament, or the House of Commons, campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU before the Brexit vote. The upper house, or House of Lords, was also overwhelmingly in favor of Britain staying in the bloc.
On June 23, some 52 percent (17.4 millions) of British people voted in a referendum to leave the EU after 43 years of membership, while roughly 48 percent (16.14 millions) of people voted to stay in the union.
Professor Thom Brooks, who is head of Law School at the University of Durham, doubted that the UK government would ever be able to end the over 4-decades-old membership in the union.
“There is a 42 year evolving legal relationship that is not so easy to unpick. It is an absolutely massive task,” he told The Independent.