Saturday 27 August 2016 1:15 pm

Prime Minister Theresa May to trigger Article 50 without parliamentary vote

Prime Minister Theresa May will not hold a parliamentary vote on Brexit before triggering Article 50 and opening negotiations with the EU.

May will invoke Article 50 without consent of parliament, in a move that will be hailed by eurosceptics.

Those opposed to leaving the EU have said that the referendum is legally only advisory and the approval of parliament is necessary to formally take the UK out of the currently 28-member bloc.

The Prime Minister has said time and time again that "Brexit means Brexit" and a Downing Street source said: “The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear that the British public have voted and now she will get on with delivering Brexit.”

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The Telegraph reported that May has consulted government lawyers who have told the Prime Minister she has the executive power to invoke Article 50 and begin the formal process of exiting the EU without a vote in Parliament.

The news comes after the UK voted more than two months ago for Brexit by a margin of 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

Last month eurosceptic MPs hit out at a London law firm after it revealed it was prepared to launch legal action over the triggering of Article 50, which would begin the UK’s formal exit from the EU.

“We must ensure that the government follows the correct process to have legal certainty and protect the UK constitution and the sovereignty of parliament in these unprecedented circumstances,” said Kasra Nouroozi, partner at Mishcon de Reya. “The result of the referendum is not in doubt, but we need a process that follows UK law to enact it.

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Labour leadership callenger Owen Smith said: "May is clearly running scared from parliamentary scrutiny of her Brexit negotiations. She's looked at the numbers and she knows she might not win a vote in parliament. She hasn't set out what Brexit means and she doesn't want to be held to account in vital issues such as stripping away worker's rights and environmental safeguards.

"Under my leadership Labour will press for whatever final deal she, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis come up with to be put to the British people, either in a second referendum or at a general election."

Scottish National Party MP Stephen Gethins said: "It is deeply worrying that Theresa May seems intent on ploughing ahead with a hard Brexit, without the approval of parliament and despite the serious damage it could do to the Scottish and UK economies."

In the aftermath of the referendum May had visited Scotland, giving First Minister Nicola Sturgeon a commitment that she would not trigger Article 50 until a UK-wide approach had been agreed.