The British government is not yet in a position to begin substantive negotiations on leaving the European Union, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says.
"For the moment we are not in a position to begin substantive negotiations immediately and therefore it would be unwise to start the process ticking by triggering Article 50," he told a committee of MPs on Thursday.
Mr Hammond also said the government would need to build up its trade negotiating resources in due course and would look to friendly governments to help it do so.
He also told MPs it's up to government, not parliament, to trigger the formal Article 50 process for leaving the EU, and that the will of the British public is clear after voting to leave the bloc.
He said parliament could "have a say" in the process, but that final power will lie with the new Prime Minister, despite a legal challenge that claims the power to trigger Article 50 should lie with the House of Commons.
"The legal position of course is that it's a decision for the government to trigger Article 50," Hammond told a committee of MPs on Thursday.
"Of course parliament will want to express a view, will want to have a say, will want to be involved in the debate, and it absolutely should be.
"But it must be for the government to make the decision to trigger the Article 50 notice."