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

Updated: 2016-11-07 09:15


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

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Cobyn delivers a speech at a Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) event in Lonton, Britain November 5, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]


Arch-eurosceptic Nigel Farage, who led the influential UK Independence Party's Brexit campaign, said there was a growing movement to keep Britain within the EU's tariff-free single market - a scenario he called a "half-Brexit" that went against the referendum result.

"If the people in this country think that they're going to be cheated, they're going to be betrayed, then we will see political anger the likes of which none of us in our lifetimes have ever witnessed in this country," he told the BBC.

Parliament could in theory block Brexit because most members supported staying in the EU in June's referendum. But many lawmakers have signaled they would be willing to reverse their position to reflect the referendum result.

"I think it is highly unlikely that parliament would not, in the end, back a decision to trigger Article 50," health minister Jeremy Hunt told the BBC, referring to the EU treaty mechanism for beginning the process of leaving.

Last week's court ruling could allow lawmakers to temper the government's approach, however, making a "hard Brexit" - where tight controls on immigration get priority over remaining in the single market - less likely.

Corbyn told the Sunday Mirror that Labour's "Brexit bottom line" would require guarantees for access to the single market for exporters, continued protection of workers' rights, safeguards for consumers and the environment, and pledges that Britain would make up any loss of EU capital investment.

Corbyn said he would welcome an early national election if May refused to meet his demands but later toned down his position on any parliamentary vote, tweeting: "We won't block Article 50 but will fight for a Brexit that works for Britain."

The next national election is not due until 2020, and the government has so far resisted pressure to dissolve parliament and seek a stronger mandate.

"I think a general election is frankly the last thing that the government wants ... It's the last thing that the British people want," Hunt said.

A government appeal against the High Court ruling is expected to be considered by Britain's Supreme Court early next month. May has said she still plans to invoke Article 50 by the end of March.

The lead claimant in the High Court case, Gina Miller, said on Sunday that Scotland - which voted to remain in the EU in the referendum - was likely to join the case as it goes to the Supreme Court. However, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it had not yet decided to take part.


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