May says Brexit negotiations to open by end of March with "no delays"

Britain will begin the process of negotiating its exit from the European Union by the end of March with "no unnecessary delays," Prime Minister Theresa May said Sunday.

The government will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - which begins the two-year negotiating process for a nation leaving the EU - by March at the latest, May said in a speech at the ruling Conservative Party's annual conference.

There will be "no unnecessary delays" in the negotiations, May said, following criticism that she had been slow to form a timetable for negotiations sincw the country's June vote for Brexit.

May said she plans to ask parliament to repeal the 1972 act which took Britain into the European Union in a "Great Repeal Bill."

"The authority of EU law in Britain will end," she said.

Speaking to the Sunday Times ahead of her speech, May said the Great Repeal Bill "marks the first stage in the UK becoming a sovereign and independent country once again."

The 1972 act is the means by which EU law is implemented in Britain. The new legislation will enshrine Brussels regulations in British law, but Parliament will be able to overturn regulations it no longer wants.

The move is designed to reassure business and workers whose rights are protected by EU law.

The bill is expected to be introduced at the formal start of the next parliamentary session in April or May.

It will only take effect once Britain has left the EU following the two-year process started by triggering Article 50.

Last update: Sun, 02/10/2016 - 18:47

More from Europe

More explosives found in Germany following bomb-making arrest

Following the arrest of a suspected bomb maker in Germany's Lower Rhine region, police said they found explosives in...

EU starts "new era" of NATO cooperation amid uncertainty over Trump

NATO foreign ministers signed a deal on closer collaboration with the European Union on Tuesday, with the bloc's top...

Merkel re-elected party leader after toughening tone on refugees

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) have edged to the right with plans for a tougher...

Greek court extradites some Turkish officers, others to stay

A court in Athens has agreed to a request from Turkey to extradite three military officers accused of plotting to...

Despite defeat, Austrian far-right aims for big vote take in 2017

This weekend's loss in the Austrian presidential election will not deter Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPOe)...