After London march, EU still assumes UK will leave - Commission

EU supporters, calling on the government to give Britons a vote on the final Brexit deal, participate in the 'People's Vote' march in central London, Britain March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Steven Watt

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission is working on the assumption that Britain will leave the EU unless the UK government tells it otherwise, the European Commision said on Monday after hundreds of thousands of people marched in London on Saturday to demand a new referendum.

Asked if such demonstrations changed anything in the Brexit process, Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a regular news briefing:

“What we have to say is that freedom of expression is a fundamental right for the EU. We saw indeed the very telling images of the march. We take note of this march, but our only interlocutor is the UK government.”

Separately, more than five million Britons have signed a petition urging the government to revoke its request to leave the EU.

“We also take note of the petition. Here, too, for as long as the UK government doesn’t tell us otherwise, we are working under the presumption the UK will leave the EU,” Schinas said.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski and Clare Roth; editing by Philip Blenkinsop