November 3, 2016 / 11:45 AM / 3 years ago

Court ruling does not derail Brexit timetable, says May's spokeswoman

Pro-Europe demonstrators protest during a "March for Europe" against the Brexit vote result, earlier in the year, in London, Britain, September 3, 2016. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government still plans to trigger formal divorce talks with the European Union by the end of March and does not believe a court ruling demanding parliamentary approval will derail that, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokeswoman said.

England’s High Court ruled on Thursday that the British government requires parliamentary approval to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty which starts up to two years of talks for Britain’s departure from the bloc.

“Our plan remains to invoke Article 50 by the end of March, we believe the legal timetable should allow for that,” the spokeswoman told reporters.

“We have no intention of letting this derail our timetable.”

May has said she does not plan to trigger Article 50 before the end of this year to allow the government time to prepare its negotiating position and the spokeswoman said that work would continue despite the court ruling.

She said the process was clear before the June 23 vote that the government would get on with implementing the result, using a historical power known as “royal prerogative” where ministers act on behalf of the monarch.

“There was a process agreed which was we would have an act of parliament, we would have a referendum, we would get on with it, with a clear expectation that it is a prerogative power and the government should do it,” she said.

“There is the constitutional argument that it is lawful for the government to begin to give effect to the referendum result by the use of prerogative powers.”

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James, editing by Elizabeth Piper

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