The High Court in the United Kingdom ruled that Parliament must vote when Britain can start the Brexit process, meaning Prime Minister Theresa May cannot invoke Article 50, which opens a two-year window for talks to leave the European Union.
The government plans to appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court, but if the justices uphold it, “that would mean lawmakers, a majority of whom voted to stay, would have more influence over how Brexit is carried out and could theoretically delay or even stop the process.”
A group of British citizens who backed the remain campaign brought the case to court with top U.K. constitutional lawyers. Those involved believe “that triggering Article 50 without parliamentary consent would effectively override a 1972 statute that enshrines European law in the U.K. and which the claimants say ensures rights that can only be removed by Parliament.”
Those involved in the case also claim that “failing to give lawmakers a voice before applying to leave the European Union would turn them into bystanders as Britain negotiated its disengagement from the bloc after more than four decades of membership.” Parliament did approve of holding the referendum.
The government said its within its right to leave the EU “because of the so-called royal prerogative, in which executive authority is given to ministers so they can govern on the monarch’s behalf.”
May wants to invoke Article 50 by the end of March. She will still plan on that timetable:
“The country voted to leave the European Union in a referendum approved by act of Parliament,” a U.K. government spokesman said. “And the government is determined to respect the result of the referendum.”
Oh, it gets crazier. People voted to leave the EU to regain their sovereignty from the bloc. Lord chief justice John Thomas said “the most fundamental rule of the U.K. constitution is that Parliament is sovereign and can make or unmake any law it chooses.”
So in other words Parliament is only sovereign some of the times? I just find it funny that the court used the Brexit argument to justify its ruling.
The government lashed out at the ruling since the people voted in June to leave the European Union:
Brexit Secretary David Davis said he presumed the court ruling meant an act of Parliament would be required to trigger Article 50 – so would be subject to approval by both MPs and peers.
But the government was going to contest that view in an appeal, saying that the referendum was held only following “a six-to-one vote in the Commons to give the decision to the British people”.
“The people are the ones Parliament represents – 17.4m of them, the biggest mandate in history, voted for us to leave the European Union. We are going to deliver on that mandate in the best way possible for the British national interest,” he told the BBC.
The majority of Parliament members wanted to remain in the EU, but BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said that “most would ultimately be likely to vote for Article 50, as Brexit had been supported in the referendum.”DONATE
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