It was the last EU summit for British leader Theresa May before she triggers Brexit proceedings, and two years of haggling. With the self-imposed March deadline approaching, some were hoping to learn the exact start date, but once again the prime minister left them in suspense.
“It’s time to get on with leaving the European Union and building the independent, self governing, global Britain the British people have called for. And so, as I have said, we will trigger Article 50 by the end of this month. This will be a defining moment for the UK, as we begin the process of forging a new role for ourselves in the world, as a strong country with control over our borders and over our laws,” said May.
On the issue of paying money into the EU as it leaves, and even beyond the departure date May said, “ (UK Foreign Secretary) Boris (Johnson) is clear and I am clear, that when people voted on the 23rd of June for us to leave the European Union, they voted for us in the future not paying huge sums of money into the European Union every year and, of course, when we leave the EU that will be the case.”
Earlier this week, May’s Brexit plans suffered a setback, when the House of Lords backed calls for a ‘meaningful parliamentary vote’ on the final terms of the departure.
The issue will be debated again by the House of Commons as the government seeks to reverse the Lords’ decision.