The British people voted in a free and fair referendum to leave the EU. Turnout was larger than at any election since 1992 and no Prime Minister or party in British history has ever received as many votes as the vote to leave did. The Government has a duty to deliver the referendum result and it will do so in the national interest.
I want to be clear, however, that the UK's vote to leave the EU was in no way a rejection of European values. The UK's dedication to ensuring the continued prosperity of the European people remains resolute and it is unconditionally committed to maintaining the security of the continent. We may be leaving the EU but we are not leaving Europe. We will always work with our international partners to defend democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
I am delighted that Article 50 has been invoked and the Prime Minister has been clear that there must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to re-join it through the back door and no second referendum. The UK will leave the EU in March 2019 and its membership of the single market will end at this point. An implementation period will allow businesses time to adjust but it will be strictly time-limited. There should be no doubt that the UK is leaving the EU and its institutions.
In order to provide legal certainty over our exit from the EU, I can confirm that the Repeal Bill will remove the European Communities Act 1972 from the statute book and convert all EU law into UK law. This will mean the immediate conversion of EU law into domestic law on the day of the UK's departure from the EU. It will also mean that the UK has a functioning statute book when it leaves the EU. Parliament will be free to keep, amend or repeal any law as it sees fit.