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Brexit means Brexit,' says UK PM

Press Association logoPress Association 31/08/2016

British Prime Minister Theresa May is firmly against a second referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union, telling cabinet colleagues that "Brexit means Brexit" and there will be no attempt to stay in the EU "by the back door".

May was speaking at her country retreat Chequers as Cabinet met for the first time after the summer break.

As work continues on preparations for withdrawal negotiations, each cabinet member has been told to use the meeting to set out what opportunities leaving the EU presents for their department.

Speaking at the start of the all-day meeting, May said: "We'll be looking at the next steps that we need to take, and we'll also be looking at the opportunities that are now open to us as we forge a new role for the UK in the world.

"We must continue to be very clear that 'Brexit means Brexit', that we're going to make a success of it. That means there's no second referendum; no attempts to sort of stay in the EU by the back door; that we're actually going to deliver on this."

There has been speculation that May will trigger the two-year period leading to the final departure without consulting parliament.

The majority of members of parliament were against Britain leaving the EU, meaning that any vote to approve the final plans might not make it through the lower house.

Among those at the meeting at Chequers are three ministers responsible for Brexit: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and David Davis, the secretary of state for exiting the EU.

May has not yet said when she will trigger the formal process, which starts with invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, despite pressure from other EU members to do so.

She has indicated that she will not trigger Article 50 before the end of the year.

The UK voted to leave the EU by a margin of 51.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent on June 23.

Britain's decision to leave the EU caused shockwaves around the world and is expected to feature at the G20 meeting, which begins on Sunday in Hangzhou, China.

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