Judges say only parliament can trigger Brexit
MPs must vote on Article 50 to take Britain out of the EU, the Supreme Court has ruled, in a defeat for Theresa May’s government which argued it had the power to do so alone.
Judges today dismissed Brexit Secretary David Davis’s appeal of a High Court ruling in November, which said only parliament has the power to trigger Article 50.
Lord Neuberger said his fellow judges ruled eight to three that
“an Act of Parliament is required to authorise ministers to give Notice of the decision of the UK to withdraw from the European Union.”
You can read the full judgement here.
Gina Miller, who brought the original case, welcomed the decision. Speaking outside the court, she said ‘This case was about the legal process, not politics’. She added:
“No government can expect to be unanswerable or unchallenged. Parliament alone is sovereign.
This ruling today means MPs we have elected will rightfully have the opportunity to bring their invaluable experience and expertise to bear in helping the government select the best course in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.”
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, responding to the decision, said:
“Labour will seek to amend the Article 50 Bill to prevent the Conservatives using Brexit to turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven off the coast of Europe.”
He added Labour wanted ‘full, tariff-free access to the single market’, workers’ rights and environmental protections, and is ‘demanding’ a government plan which is accountable to parliament.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, responding to the decision, said:
“Before voting to trigger Article 50, MPs must demand a clear plan from Theresa May on how she will protect working people from paying the price for Brexit, and make sure their workplace rights do not fall behind those in the EU.”
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said his party would vote against Article 50 without a referendum on the Brexit deal. He said:
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“I welcome today’s judgement. But this court case was never about legal arguments, it was about giving the people a voice, a say, in what happens next.
This Tory Brexit government are keen to laud the democratic process when it suits them, but will not give the people a voice over the final deal. They seem happy to start with democracy and end in a stitch up.”