Brexit

We will not be rushed into exit, David Cameron tells EU leaders

Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street, London, as he makes his way to deliver a speech at the House of Commons. Picture by Rick Findler, Press Association
Gavin Cordon, Press Association

DAVID Cameron has warned European leaders that Britain will not be rushed into negotiations to withdraw from the EU.

Addressing MPs following the referendum vote to leave, the prime minister reaffirmed that it would be for his successor when to trigger Article 50 under the Lisbon treaty.

Some EU figures, including European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, have called for an immediate start to the talks.

But Mr Cameron told the House: "Before we do that we need to determine the kind of relationship we want with the EU and that is rightly something for the next prime minister and their cabinet to decide.

"This is our sovereign decision and it will be for Britain and Britain alone to take."

Mr Cameron stressed that it was important that Britain maintained the "strongest possible" economic links with the EU as well as its extensive security cooperation.

"Britain is leaving the European Union, but we must not turn our back on Europe or the rest of the world," he said.

"I believe we should hold fast to a vision of Britain that wants to be respected abroad, tolerant at home, engaged in the world and working with our international partners to advance the prosperity and security of our nation for generations to come."

He strongly condemned abuse of members of ethnic communities reported after last week's vote as well as "despicable" graffiti daubed on a Polish community centre.

"Let's remember these people have come here and made a wonderful contribution to our country. And we will not stand for hate crime or these kinds of attacks. They must be stamped out," he said.

Earlier, Boris Johnson, the lead Leave campaigner, sought to reassure EU nationals living in the UK that their status would not be affected.

"It is absolutely clear that people from other European countries who are living here have their rights protected," he said.

"All that people want to see is a system that is fair, impartial and humane to all people who come here from around the world. People from the UK living in the rest of the EU will also have their rights completely protected."

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