(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.finance.yahoo.com via news.sky.com – – Thu, 3 Nov, 2016) London, Uk – –
Theresa May cannot trigger Brexit without putting it to an MPs' vote in the House of Commons, the High Court has ruled.
In a landmark ruling, Lord Chief Justice Thomas said Mrs May did not have the right to set in motion Article 50, the official start of the two-year EU divorce proceedings, without consulting parliament.
The decision is a significant setback for the Prime Minister's Brexit strategy – she announced at the Conservative Party Conference last month she would trigger Article 50 by the end of March.
The Government instantly announced it would appeal the decision and the two sides will now prepare for another showdown at the Supreme Court in early December.
Speaking outside the court, businesswoman Gina Miller, who brought the case with hairdresser Deir Dos Santos, welcomed the decision and said it would “bring sobriety” to Brexit proceedings.
In a statement from Mr Dos Santos, who voted to leave the EU, he said: “In her speech to the Conservative Party Conference the Prime Minister attacked me for bringing these proceedings as a claimant. She (Munich: SOQ.MU – news) said that I was trying to subvert democracy. That was an unwarranted and irresponsible attack.
“As is my constitutional right I sought the protection of the court to stop unlawful government action. The court has now given me that protection.”
The ruling saw the pound up more than 1% against the dollar, at $1.24, in the immediate wake of the High Court announcement.
Unless the decision is overturned by the Supreme Court, or on further appeal to the European Court of Justice, then it will be for MPs to decide
when to start the UK's exit from the European Union.
While many may be reluctant to overturn the public's decision, there will be a number in constituencies where people voted Remain who will come under pressure from their voters.
Speaking in the House of Commons moments after the ruling, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: “The Government is disappointed by the court's judgment.
“The country voted to leave the European Union in a referendum approved by Acts of Parliament. The Government is determined to respect the result of the referendum.
“This judgment raises important and complex matters of law and it's right that we consider it carefully before deciding how to proceed.”
Opposition leaders Nicola Sturgeon, Tim Farron and Jeremy Corbyn, who have been calling for Mrs May to lay out her Brexit strategy more clearly, welcomed the ruling.
The Labour leader said: “This ruling underlines the need for the Government to bring its negotiating terms to Parliament without delay.
“Labour respects the decision of the British people to leave the European Union. But there must be transparency and accountability to parliament on the terms of Brexit.”
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: “I now fear that every attempt will be made to block or delay the triggering of Article 50. If this is so, they have no idea of the level of public anger they will provoke.”
The case has centred around the wording of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which says member states may leave the EU “in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”.
However, there is no clearly established “constitutional requirements” leaving both sides free to make their own definitions.
Making his judgment, the Lord Chief Justice said: “The Government does not have power under the Crown's prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 for the UK for the UK to withdraw from the European Union.”