Britain to lay out Brexit plan this week

A Pro-Europe demonstrator waves a flag during a protest against the Brexit vote result earlier in the year, in London, Britain, on Sept 3.
A Pro-Europe demonstrator waves a flag during a protest against the Brexit vote result earlier in the year, in London, Britain, on Sept 3. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • The British government will set out this week the work it has done so far on preparing to leave the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May said yesterday.

Since taking office in July, Mrs May and her Brexit minister David Davis have given few details about what Britain's future relationship with the EU will look like, saying only they want it to involve curbs on immigration and a good deal on trade.

"He (Davis) will be making a statement to Parliament this week about the work that the government has been doing over the summer and obviously how we are going to take that forward in shaping the sort of relationship we want with the EU," Mrs May told the BBC's Andrew Marr show ahead of the Group of 20 summit in China.

Mrs May also warned of possible "difficult times ahead" and also ruled out a new general election soon. She has been clear she will not trigger Article 50, the formal process of leaving the bloc, this year but said the government would not delay a Brexit.

"I am very clear also that the British people also don't want the issue of Article 50 just being kicked into the long grass," she said.

On her way to the summit, Mrs May told reporters Britain's economy will suffer as a result of the decision to leave the EU despite signs in recent economic data that the impact has not been as severe as some predicted.

Mrs May told the BBC she would use the summit to begin talks with world leaders including US President Barack Obama, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over future trade deals.

Mrs May, who upset Chinese officials by delaying a US$24 billion (S$32.6 billion) project to build a partly Chinese-funded nuclear power plant, is also due to hold a one-to-one with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the summit. She told the BBC she would make a decision on the deal later this month.

Mrs May said there would be no early national election, despite some in her ruling Conservatives believing turmoil in the opposition Labour Party gives them an opportunity to increase their small parliamentary majority.

"We need that period of time, that stability to be able to deal with the issues that the country is facing and have that election in 2020," she said.

Meanwhile, Japan has warned Britain that its exit from the EU could prompt Japanese financial institutions to relocate from London and listed a raft of concerns from Japanese companies about the transition out of the EU.

In a 15-page report published on the eve of a summit of the G-20 economies in China, a Japanese government task force formed to respond to "Brexit" also warned of a possible outflow of drug research and development investment from Britain.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2016, with the headline 'Britain to lay out Brexit plan this week'. Subscribe