British Prime Minister May / Photo AFP

The timing of Britain’s exit from the European Union is in London’s hands, following a court decision that could delay the process.

The European Union stated this on Friday, following Thursday’s High Court ruling that the U.K. government cannot leave the European Union without letting its Parliament vote on the matter.

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Prime Minister Theresa May had been expected to tell European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that she would stick to a late-March deadline.

“The president (Juncker) explicitly stressed that he respects the legal order and constitutional order of the UK,” commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said while briefing reporters about a phone conversation between Juncker and May.

In the hands of Britain

“And this is now a British affair. The timing is in the hands of the British authorities,” Andreeva said.

“We have no further comment to make and we will also not speculate on the British timeline,” he added.

“It was rather a short phone call,” she responded when asked to characterise the exchange.

The decision raises the prospect of a protracted parliamentary debate — in a chamber that overwhelmingly opposed Brexit — before May can proceed.

EU leaders themselves have urged London to begin the talks as soon as possible so as to remove the uncertainty caused by Britain’s departure from the 28-member bloc.