UK Conservatives hold annual meet to discuss Brexit plan

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will outline her plan to take the country out of the EU at her party's annual conference on Sunday.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Union Jack flag flutters next to European Union flags at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

Following the Brexit vote, Britain's governing Conservative Party will meet for its annual conference on Sunday to discuss how and when it will take the country out of the European Union.

Britain voted to become the first country ever to leave the EU in June's referendum and enters a new era with Prime Minister Theresa May in charge.

But the government is under immense pressure to define what shape Brexit will take and when May will trigger two years of departure negotiations with Brussels.

European powers keen to dampen euro scepticism in their backyards have taken an increasingly hard line, warning that Britain cannot expect special treatment on trade and immigration.

Access to the single market means allowing free movement of people, they say. But May has said she wants to curb the yearly influx of hundreds of thousands of people from other parts of the EU.

A key demand of the 58 percent of Conservative Party voters who backed leaving the bloc, is ending the free movement of people from the EU to Britain.

Several prominent figures in May's party have stated that they want to sever all ties with the EU by leaving the single market and imposing work visa rules.

They argue that the European Union would only be harming itself if it began imposing tariffs on British goods and services because the EU exports more to Britain than Britain does to the rest of the bloc.

"There is so little known about Brexit," said Tony Travers, a professor of government at the London School of Economics.

It begs the question of whether the government does have a view about exactly what it's going to do with the country or not.

"On Sunday, May addressed the concerns by announcing a Great Repel Bill, which will end the authority of the EU law once Britain leaves the Union.

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to the media as she arrives at her official residence, 10 Downing Street in London.

It will overturn laws that make EU regulations supreme, enshrine all EU rules in domestic law and confirm the British parliament can amend them as it wants.

"This marks the first stage in the UK becoming a sovereign and independent country once again," May told The Sunday Times newspaper.

"It will return power and authority to the elected institutions of our country. It means that the authority of EU law in Britain will end."

Deeply divided main opposition Labour Party under veteran leftist Jeremy Corbyn is well behind the Conservatives in opinion polls.

May is seen as the best prime minister by 67 percent of people, compared to just 25 percent for Corbyn, according to research published this month by Lord Michael Ashcroft, a former Conservative deputy chairman turned pollster.

But with Parliament set to get back to work on October 10, there is a sense that her honeymoon period is over and serious questions are looming unanswered on the horizon.

Sunday is set to be the main day for debate on the EU, with addresses from May as well as former London Mayor Boris Johnson and Brexit 
Minister David Davis.

They will be expected "to put some kind of meat on the bones," said Victoria Honeyman, a politics lecturer at Leeds University.

TRTWorld and agencies