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MPs Would 'Debate and Scrutinise' the Process but not Vote on Plans: PM May on Brexit

Press Trust Of India

Updated: October 10, 2016, 9:20 PM IST
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MPs Would 'Debate and Scrutinise' the Process but not Vote on Plans: PM May on Brexit
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May gives a speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, England, Sunday Oct. 2, 2016. Britain will trigger the formal process for leaving the European Union before April 2017, May said Sunday, putting to rest weeks of speculation on the timing of the move. (Photo: AP)

London: British MPs will not get to vote on the way the country's exit from the European Union is handled, the government said on Monday, dashing hopes of many senior politicians who have been demanding a say on the major deal.

The British prime minister Theresa May's spokesman said MPs would "debate and scrutinise" the process but not vote on plans.

Brexit is expected by summer 2019. It follows the Leave campaign winning a majority in June's referendum, with Prime Minister May announcing last week that the government would trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - beginning formal negotiations between the UK and EU - by the end of March next year.

May's spokesman said: "Parliament is of course going to debate and scrutinise that process as it goes on. That is absolutely necessary and the right thing to do.

"But, having a second vote, or a vote to second-guess the will of the British people, is not an acceptable way forward," the BBC quoted the spokesman as saying.

The statement comes as May is visiting Denmark and the Netherlands for talks on "delivering Brexit". Her discussions with counterparts Lars Lokke Rasmussen and Mark Rutte come a week ahead of her first European Council meeting.

At a press conference with Rasmussen in Copenhagen, May said: "We are not turning our backs on Europe. We want to maintain strong relationships with our European partners."

The UK would continue to "meet our various rights and obligations" until it left the EU, she added.

Rasmussen said it was "tragic" that UK voters had decided in favour of Brexit, but he hoped for a "friendly divorce".

Brexit Secretary David Davis is to make a statement on the government's plans in the House of Commons later today - the first day back for MPs after the party conference recess. But Conservative MP and Leave supporter Stephen Phillips has applied to Commons Speaker John Bercow for a full-scale emergency debate on the terms of the government's Brexit negotiations.

If approved, this will take place tomorrow. Former Labour leader Ed Miliband said MPs must have a say on the nature of the eventual Brexit deal.

He told the BBC that he did not want to reverse the result of June's referendum, but that details of negotiations should not be given through "briefings and leaks".

Parliament, as "the sovereign body of the people", should discuss plans, Miliband said, as the referendum had not specified a "particular type of Brexit".

May has said she will not give a "running commentary" on the government's thinking.

The prime minister, who has held meetings with 11 European leaders since taking over from David Cameron in July, is also due to to visit Madrid on Thursday for talks with Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy.

First Published: October 10, 2016, 9:20 PM IST
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