UK Brexit secretary David Davis says there will be no second referendum and that Britain will leave the European Union as planned.
“There will be no attempt to stay in the EU by the back door. No attempt to delay, frustrate or thwart the will of the British people. No attempt to engineer a second referendum because some people didn’t like the first answer,” he told UK MPs on Monday.
“Both sides of the argument must respect the result,” said Davis, who was addressing the parliament for the first time since he was appointed on July 13.
However, he said that the UK was not considering “Brexit as ending” its relationship with Europe, but rather it was “starting a new one” with the bloc.
On June 23, some 52 percent (17.4 millions) of British people voted in a referendum to leave the EU after 43 years of membership, while roughly 48 percent (16.14 millions) of people voted to stay in the union.
Davis said that Britain is trying to have a “unique” deal with the EU that can help the country restore sovereignty, reduce immigration and boost trade with the bloc following their split.
“This must mean controls on the numbers of people who come to Britain from Europe – but also a positive outcome for those who wish to trade in goods and services.”
Davis was, however, accused of “waffling” by opposition lawmakers, a number of whom said his “optimistic tone” would not give a clear picture of what Brexit will look like.
“We are none the wiser about the government’s plans after David Davis’s statement. An optimistic tone is not enough and the phrase ‘Brexit means Brexit’ has surely passed its shelf life,” British conservative politician Anna Soubry, who voted to remain in the EU, told Reuters.
Davis’ remarks came after British Prime Minister Theresa May rejected carrying out a second referendum or a general election.
According to The Telegraph, May will invoke Article 50 without a vote in the parliament.
She is expected to invoke Article 50, the two-year formal process for the exit of countries from the EU, in early 2017.