Party clarifies stance on Supreme Court decision
UKIP views the Supreme Court’s Article 50 ruling as ‘a defeat’ and would prefer Theresa May ‘get on with’ Brexit, rather than have the ‘delaying tactic’ of a vote in parliament.
Leader Paul Nuttall had attacked the court’s decision – which ruled only MPs can trigger Article 50 – calling it a ‘loss’ which ‘would make no real difference’.
But it wasn’t clear if the party welcomed or opposed the chance for parliament to debate and vote on triggering Article 50.
Now a UKIP spokesman, speaking to Left Foot Forward, said the party, which has for years championed the sovereignty of the British parliament, considers the ruling a ‘defeat’.
“We think it’s a defeat. This is unnecessary. […]
Really we should just repeal the European Communities Act. However, we are where we are. It will go through parliament.”
He acknowledged that repealing the EC Act would also require a vote.
When asked if UKIP believes parliament should vote on important matters of the day, or whether the government should just act on its own, the spokesman said:
“We believe parliament to be sovereign, unless parliament hands that sovereignty to the people, which it did in the form of the referendum.”
UKIP’s preference for repealing the European Communities Act was laid out by its Brexit spokesman Gerard Batten in November, soon after Nuttall became leader. The government’s plan is to introduce a ‘Great Repeal Bill’ to drop all EU-related laws, but only after Article 50 has been triggered.
UKIP has one MP, Douglas Carswell, who defected from the Tories, while then party leader Nigel Farage has twice failed to win a seat in parliament – first in 2010, and then again in 2015.
New leader Paul Nuttall has announced he will stand in Stoke-on-Trent Central, in a byelection triggered by the resignation of Labour MP Tristam Hunt.
Nuttall’s full response to the Supreme Court Decision said:
“This decision is hardly a surprise but in the end it will make no real difference.
The will of the people will be heard, and woe betide those politicians or parties that attempt to block, delay, or in any other way subvert that will.
Other than making clear that this is a decision of the whole United Kingdom, rather than its constituent parts, what we can clearly see is that it will embolden those who rail against the decision of the people.
It may give heart to those in the EU, used as they are to ignoring their own people, to attempt to play hard ball in the negotiations.
But in the end I am convinced that, though this skirmish has been lost in the courts, the war will be won.”
Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.