Theresa May tells MPs not to 'obstruct the will of the people' in Article 50 Brexit vote

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Now is not the time to obstruct the will of the British people, Theresa May declared as MPs continued to debate the UK government's Article 50 bill on Monday (6 February).

The prime minister issued the warning as she briefed the House of Commons on an informal summit of EU leaders in Malta on Friday.

"Our European partners now want to get on with negotiations, so do I and so does this House, which last week voted by a majority of 384 in support of the government triggering Article 50," she said.

"There are, of course, further stages for the bill in committee and in the other place [the House of Lords] and it is right that this process should be completed properly.

"But the message is clear to all: This House has spoken and now is not the time to obstruct the democratically expressed wishes of the British people. It is time to get on with leaving the European Union and building an independent, self-governing, global Britain."

The comments come before another vote in the Commons on Wednesday night after the third reading of the draft legislation. MPs overwhelmingly backed the Article 50 bill by 498 votes to 116 following its second reading last Wednesday.

May also told the MPs that she relayed Donald Trump's "100% commitment" to Nato as the "cornerstone of security in the West", while the prime minister urged EU leaders to meet the military alliance's two per cent defence spending target.

"Of course there are some areas where we disagree with the approach of the new administration, we should be clear about those disagreements and about the values that underpin our response to the global challenges that we face," May added.

"But I also argued at this council that we should engage patiently and constructively with America as a friend and an ally, an ally that has helped guarantee the longest period of peace that Europe has every know.
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