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London May Act Unlawfully by Taking UK Out of EU Single Market During Brexit

A clear legal opinion is needed to determine if it would be legal for the UK government to automatically withdraw the country from the free-trade European Economic Area (EEA) following Brexit, a UK pro-single market think tank said Monday.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The think tank said that since Brexit did not mean that the United Kingdom would automatically leave the EEA, the decision should be approved by the Parliament, otherwise the organization would demand legal clarification. The UK government's position was that the EEA membership ends with Brexit.

"Strong chance that the UK will be acting unlawfully by taking us out of the EEA — we need judicial clarification," the British Influence said in its Twitter account.

On June 23, the United Kingdom voted on referendum to leave the European Union. UK Prime Minister Theresa May stated that the country would trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017, thus kick-starting withdrawal negotiations. The timing was later reaffirmed despite the High Court ruling in November that the government must seek parliamentary approval before triggering the article.

A number of EU leaders have stated that the United Kingdom will lose its access to the Single Market unless it keeps freedom of movement rules. Theresa May, meanwhile, suggested at the Conservative Party conference in early October that the country’s exit from the European Union would be a "hard" rather than "soft" Brexit, meaning that control over immigration would be prioritized over the access to the European Single Market.

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