British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to go ahead with Brexit plans without seeking a House of Commons vote, according to a media report Saturday. Those in favour of remaining within the European Union (EU) have hung on to the advisory nature of the June 23 referendum in favour of an exit from the economic bloc, the Daily Telegraph was quoted as saying by UK government sources.
However, the report said that May has consulted government lawyers who have told the Prime Minister that she has the executive power to invoke Article 50 and begin the formal process of exiting the European Union without a vote in Parliament.
A Downing Street source told the newspaper: “The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear that the British public have voted and now she will get on with delivering Brexit.” The majority of MPs in the Commons, a total of around 480, campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union at the last election.
The House of Lords is also overwhelmingly in favour of Britain staying in the EU, meaning that obtaining formal parliamentary approval for Brexit could take years. A group of lawyers has mounted a legal challenge in a bid to force May to hold a parliamentary vote. The case, which will be heard in the High Court in London in October, argues that Article 50 cannot be invoked until the European Communities Act of 1972 is repealed.
However, government lawyers are confident that they will win, paving the way for Article 50 to be triggered at the beginning of next year, which could see Britain leave the European Union in 2019.