British Labour Party clarifies stance on Brexit after court ruling

November 7, 2016 5:30 pm

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (L) and deputy leader Tom Watson. (Photo by AFP)

The ’s Labour Party is in no way planning to block the ’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU), says deputy leader Tom Watson, in a likely attempt to clarify earlier remarks by party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Days after the UK High Court’s ruling that the government needed a parliamentary approval for , Corbyn told the Sunday Mirror that his party would block the triggering of the Lisbon Treaty’s Article 50 if the Prime Minister Theresa May fails to guarantee the UK’s access to the single market.
Watson, however, rushed to clarify the opposition leader’s point by reassuring Britons that their vote to end the UK’s membership in the EU was not going to be altered in the Parliament.
“We’re not going to hold this up. The British people have spoken and Article 50 will be triggered when it comes to Westminster,” Watson told BBC Radio.
“I think it’s important the country needs to hear this because most people think that that court judgment meant that the referendum result has fallen. It hasn’t, it will go through,” he noted.
“We want Theresa May to be accountable to Parliament, but the people have spoken and we will respect their decision,” Corbyn’s close ally added.
On Thursday, the High Court ruled that May must get parliamentary approval to start exit negotiations, but May said she will appeal against the decision.
Following the court’s verdict, Corbyn, who campaigned against leaving the EU, called on the May government to “bring its negotiating terms to Parliament without delay.”
Later on, Corbyn accused May of having no plans for Brexit. Prior to the court ruling, the premier had planned to start the process by March 2017 and bring it to completion in two years.
Experts warn that in case of a hard Brexit, the UK may lose its preferential access to the EU’s single market and suffer from soured relations with other EU members.
“We want to protect workers’ rights, we want to protect companies’ right to trade in the single market… but we’re certainly not going to hold up Article 50 if we don’t get the deal.” Watson said.
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