The UK will begin the formal Brexit negotiation process by the end of March 2017, PM Theresa May has said.
The timing on triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty means the UK looks set to leave the EU by summer 2019.
Mrs May told the Tory Party conference – her first as prime minister – the government would strike a deal with the EU as an “independent, sovereign” UK.
Voters had given their verdict “with emphatic clarity”, she said, and ministers had to “get on with the job”.
In a speech on the first day of the conference in Birmingham, she also gave details of a Great Repeal Bill which she said would end EU law’s primacy in the UK.
She attacked those who “have still not accepted the result of the referendum”, adding: “It is up to the government not to question, quibble or backslide on what we have been instructed to do, but to get on with the job.”
She told delegates: “We are going to be a fully independent, sovereign country – a country that is no longer part of a political union with supranational institutions that can override national parliaments and courts.
“And that means we are going, once more, to have the freedom to make our own decisions on a whole host of different matters, from how we label our food to the way in which we choose to control immigration.”
Mrs May said a “truly global Britain is possible, and it is in sight”, adding: “We don’t need – as I sometimes hear people say – to ‘punch above our weight’ because our weight is substantial enough already.”