Monday, October 18

There will be no second referendum: Theresa May to tell EU


 

 

Theresa May is to warn her 27 fellow European Union leaders over a working dinner in Brussels that Britain’s decision to leave is irreversible and there can be no second referendum.

Thursday’s meeting of the European council will be the prime minister’s first opportunity to address the leaders of all the other member states since the UK voted to leave the European Union in June.

Donald Tusk, the European council president, has insisted Britain’s future relationship with the EU will not be on the formal agenda for the two-day meeting, but he will give May the opportunity to set out the “current state of affairs in the country” over coffee at the end of the meal.

A No 10 source said she would tell her fellow EU leaders: “The British people have made a decision and it’s right and proper that that decision is honoured.

There will be no second referendum. The priority now has got to be looking to the future, and the relationship between the UK, once we leave.

The source added that the prime minister would also seek to reassure the other member states, amid growing fears that Brexit could unleash political and economic instability in Britain and the rest of Europe.

She wants the outcome at the end of this process to be a strong UK, as a partner of a strong EU, the source said. She doesn’t want the process of the UK leaving to be damaging for the rest of the EU. She wants it to be a smooth, constructive, orderly process.

With speculation rife about how Britain plans to conduct the negotiations, Tusk wants to avoid a discussion and will not invite other EU leaders to respond. May’s remarks are down as an any other business point, underscoring that Britain is far down the priority list for the summit despite public interest in the issue.

Theresa May is to warn her 27 fellow European Union leaders over a working dinner in Brussels that Britain’s decision to leave is irreversible and there can be no second referendum.

Thursday’s meeting of the European council will be the prime minister’s first opportunity to address the leaders of all the other member states since the UK voted to leave the European Union in June.

Donald Tusk, the European council president, has insisted Britain’s future relationship with the EU will not be on the formal agenda for the two-day meeting, but he will give May the opportunity to set out the current state of affairs in the country over coffee at the end of the meal.

A No 10 source said she would tell her fellow EU leaders: The British people have made a decision and it’s right and proper that that decision is honoured. There will be no second referendum.

The priority now has got to be looking to the future, and the relationship between the UK, once we leave.

The source added that the prime minister would also seek to reassure the other member states, amid growing fears that Brexit could unleash political and economic instability in Britain and the rest of Europe.

She wants the outcome at the end of this process to be a strong UK, as a partner of a strong EU, the source said.

She doesn’t want the process of the UK leaving to be damaging for the rest of the EU. She wants it to be a smooth, constructive, orderly process.

With speculation rife about how Britain plans to conduct the negotiations, Tusk wants to avoid a discussion and will not invite other EU leaders to respond. May’s remarks are down as an “any other business point”, underscoring that Britain is far down the priority list for the summit despite public interest in the issue.

Meanwhile, a report from the high-powered House of Lords EU committee has warned the government that simply offering parliament a vote after article 50 has already been triggered amounts to a “rubber stamp”, not effective scrutiny.

Tim Boswell, the committee’s chair, said: Ministers keep saying that they won’t offer a running commentary on the negotiations. What they offer instead, namely parliamentary scrutiny after the fact, is in reality not scrutiny at all it could be no more than a rubber stamp.

That is not good enough, given that these are the most important and complex negotiations the government has ever undertaken.

In Brussels, with Brexit off the formal agenda, EU leaders are due to discuss the migration crisis, and Russia’s intervention in the Syrian conflict.

Tusk is also keen to reopen the issue of trade sanctions against countries that dump cut-price products into the EU market, and here, May is likely to irritate some member states by sticking to Britain’s free market stance.

Under David Cameron, the UK was part of a blocking group of member states that stopped the EU reforming the so called “lesser duty rule”, to allow heftier penalties, including on Chinese steel imports.

Number 10 sources insisted they would maintain to that position, despite hopes in Brussels that May’s more interventionist stance might make her willing to accept higher tariffs.