UK prime minister warns over tying her hands in Brexit negotiations

Theresa May is on her first bilateral visit outside of Europe

UK prime minister warns over tying her hands in Brexit negotiations

Image via @theresa_may on Twitter

Theresa May has fired a warning shot over Brexit across the British parliament's bows.

Speaking after the UK High Court ruled she could not trigger talks to leave the EU without Westminster's approval, the British prime minister said Remain-supporting MPs and peers "need to accept what the people decided".

She also cautioned against attempts to force her government to put its "cards on the table" ahead of the EU negotiations arguing it was "not in our national interest".

Mrs May said: "While others seek to tie our negotiating hands, the government will get on with the job of delivering the decision of the British people.

"It was MPs who overwhelmingly decided to put the decision in their hands. The result was clear. It was legitimate."

But British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said his party will join forces with Tory Remain supporters and other parties to try to block Article 50 if Mrs May does not guarantee access to single market.

He told the Sunday Mirror that Mrs May, who has a slim Commons majority, would be forced into an early election if she fails to meet Labour demands.

Mrs May's comments came as she embarked on her first bilateral visit outside of Europe to India in a bid to "seize the opportunities of leaving the European Union".

Closer ties with India

Mrs May is looking to pave the way for a free trade agreement with India once the UK leaves the EU.

She said: "We need to turn our minds to how we get the best outcome for our country.

"That means sticking to our plan and timetable, getting on with the work of developing our negotiating strategy and not putting all our cards on the table - that is not in our national interest and it won't help us get the best deal for Britain."

It is an indication Mrs May is contemplating the prospect of parliamentary scrutiny ahead of the triggering of Article 50, even though she intends to challenge last week's court judgment.

More than 30 business representatives will join her on her mission to forge an improved strategic partnership with India.

A Number 10 spokeswoman said the UK government is "looking at how we can lay the groundwork before we leave the EU on breaking down existing barriers… So once we have left the EU we would be ready to move as soon as possible to develop that free trade relationship".

However, India is expected to demand greater immigration into the UK as part of any post-Brexit trade deal.
Mrs May's spokeswoman said: "It is possible that this is one of the issues that will be raised in the discussions.

"Our approach is we want to attract the brightest and the best while still doing more to control migration and bring it down to sustainable levels.

The UK ssues more visas to students in India than any other country other than China and the US and 89% of Indian students who apply for a visa get them.

But India may demand more working visas for its citizens in return for lifting restrictions on trade.

Any further relaxation of immigration rules would be sensitive given Mrs May is sticking to the Conservatives pledge to cut net migration below 100,000.