The Supreme Court have today announced that the Government cannot start talks regarding leaving the European Union without consulting Parliament. Prime Minister Theresa May had intended to trigger Article 50 which would begin the Brexit process without allowing MPs and peers to have their say first.
The court’s ruling now means that both the House of Commons and House of Lords will be required to vote in favour of triggering Article 50, which the Government hopes to do by the end of March. Whilst it is still unclear exactly how this will happen, draft legislature has already been prepared by ministers in anticipation of the appeal being rejected.
This announcement comes as setback, albeit an expected one, for the Prime Minister who had previously claimed that the Government had sufficient powers to trigger Article 50 without needing to consult Parliament, but this has now been rejected by the Supreme Court.
Campaigners against the Brexit result had argued that denying Parliament the right to vote was undemocratic. Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger said: "By a majority of eight to three, the Supreme Court today rules that the government cannot trigger Article 50 without an act of Parliament authorising it to do so.”
Despite this set back, Britain is still expected to begin the process of leaving the European Union by March, with Parliament’s vote expected to be fairly straightforward. With the Conservative party holding a majority in Parliament, and only one of their MP’s having stated he will vote against Article 50, Brexit being blocked is extremely unlikely. Most Labour MP’s have also said they will not stand in the way of Brexit.
Not only did the Supreme Court rule that Parliament had to vote on Article 50, they also decided that the devolutions of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland did not need to be consulted and could not prevent Article 50.
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