The UK will ignore pessimists and push on with its plans to the European Union to unlock and outward facing “Global Britain”, Theresa May declared to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham today (2 October).
The prime minister announced to applause that her government would trigger Article 50, the official mechanism to split from the EU, by March 2017 and her administration would introduce a Great Repeal Bill.
The legislation would enshrine all EU law into UK law, while also scrapping the 1972 European Communities Act (ECA).
The move would mean the Great Repeal Bill would come into force as soon as the UK split from the EU, allowing MPs to amend, cut and build on existing laws set down by Brussels. It will also remove the superiority of EU law over UK law.
The Conservative premier also revealed that she will not give MPs a say on triggering Article 50.
“It is up to the government not to question, quibble or backslide on what we have been instructed to do, but to get on with the job,” she said.
May attacked “pessimists” and launched a thinly veiled attack against the Remain campaign, which included George Osborne and David Cameron.
“There is still some uncertainty, but the sky has not fallen in, as some predicted it would: our economy remains strong,” she said.
As for what Brexit will look like, May could still be accused of being vague. “I want it to give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the Single Market – and let European businesses do the same here,” she said.
Immigration controls remain
However, the Tory premier stressed that her government would not “give up control” of immigration to the EU, suggesting the UK may not seek access to the EU’s Single Market which requires all members to agree to the principle of freedom of movement for citizens of Europe.
Instead, May said she wanted to talk about a Global Britain.
“We know that the referendum was not a vote to turn in ourselves, to cut ourselves off from the world,” she added.
There was also a nod to May’s re-branding of David Cameron’s ‘One Nation Conservatism‘, promising to “enhance” workers’ rights after Brexit and not working for the “privileged few”.
May will addresses the Conservative faithful at the end of conference on Wednesday, ahead of the Witney and West Oxfordshire by-election on 20 October, where the Tories are expected to retake Cameron’s vacated Westminster seat.