Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May waves after delivering a speech on the first day of the Conservative party annual conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, central England, on October 2, 2016. (photos by AFP)
British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses the Conservative Party's annual conference, rejecting any “sudden and unilateral withdrawal” from the European Union.
During her speech on the first day of the party’s annual conference at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, central England, May reiterated Saturday that the UK would invoke the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March following a June referendum in favor of a British exit.
"First, everything we do as we leave the EU will be consistent with the law and our treaty obligations and we must give as much certainty as possible to employers and investors. That means there can be no sudden and unilateral withdrawal. We must leave in a way agreed in law by Britain and other member states," she was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The premier’s government has been under pressure both at home and abroad to implement Brexit asap, an issue she tried to address at the gathering.
"But it is also right that we should not let things drag on too long. Having voted to leave, I know that the public will soon expect to see on the horizon the point at which Britain does formerly leave the European Union. So let me be absolutely clear. There will be no unnecessary delays in invoking Article 50. We will invoke it when we are ready and we will be ready soon,” she said, putting the deadline at the end of March next year.
The government will “soon put before parliament a 'Great Repeal Bill,' which will remove from the statute book once and for all the European Communities Act. This... This historic bill which will be included in the next Queen's speech will mean that the 1972 act, the legislation that gives direct effect to all EU law in Britain, will no longer apply from the date, upon which we formerly leave the European Union, and its effect will be clear.”
She kept on speaking highly of such a move to the audience’s applause, adding, “Our laws will be made not in Brussels but in Westminster. The judges interpreting those laws will sit not in Luxembourg but in courts in this country. The authority of EU law in Britain will end."
She reiterated that the Britons’ decision should be respected, debunking “such thing as a choice between soft Brexit and hard Brexit.”
“The line of argument, in which soft Brexit amounts to some form of continued EU membership and hard Brexit is a conscious decision to reject trade with Europe is simply a false dichotomy and it's one that is too often propagated by people who I'm afraid to say have still not accepted the result of the referendum."
The British prime minister further touched upon the immigration crisis gripping Europe in the wake of an upsurge in violence in the Middle East and Africa, an issue used by the so-called Out campaigners in the run-up to the June 23 referendum.
"I know some people ask about the 'trade-off' between controlling immigration and trading with Europe. But that is the wrong way to look at things. We voted to leave the European Union and become a fully independent, sovereign country. We will do what independent, sovereign countries do. We will decide for ourselves how we control immigration and we will be free to pass our own laws," she said. "Let's show the country we mean business, and let's keep working to make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few but for everyone in this great country."
In the June 23 referendum, about 52 percent of British voters opted to leave the EU, while roughly 48 percent of the people voted to stay in the union. More than 17.4 million Britons said the country should leave the bloc as just over 16.14 million others favored remaining in the EU.