At a working dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on 20 July 2016, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said that the UK will not trigger the Article 50 Brexit procedure this year, echoing statements made by government representatives earlier this week.
While stressing that the UK would not “walk away” from Europe and wanted to retain the “closest economic links“, PM May stated that securing a “sensible and orderly departure” from the EU would require “serious and detailed work“. She insisted that although the Article 50 delay would not please everyone, it was right to hold off until the UK’s “objectives were clear“.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Merkel said that both sides desired to get the “best result for Britain“, but urged more clarity on the UK’s timing and expressed hope that the UK would “define its principles“. Although she accepted that formal negotiations were unnecessary at this stage and it was “understandable” the UK needed a period of time to prepare, Merkel noted that neither the UK nor EU Member States want an “impasse“. She also reaffirmed that formal negotiations on withdrawal will only be possible once the UK invokes Article 50.
Speaking at her first Prime Minister’s Questions in the UK House of Commons earlier on Wednesday, May indicated that the UK Government would seek controls on free movement of persons from the EU in Brexit negotiations, saying “I am very clear that the vote … sent a very clear message about immigration – that people want control of free movement from the EU and that is precisely what we will be doing and ensuring that we get in the negotiations.”