Brexit court defeat for UK government


**Brexit court defeat for UK government

Parliament must vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the EU, the High Court has ruled.

This means the government cannot trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - beginning formal exit-negotiations with the EU - on its own.

Theresa May says the referendum - and existing ministerial powers - mean MPs do not need to vote, but campaigners called this unconstitutional.**

The government is appealing, with a further hearing expected next month.

A statement is to be made to MPs on Monday but the prime minister’s official spokesman said the government had “no intention of letting” the judgement “derail Article 50 or the timetable we have set out. We are determined to continue with our plan”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged the government “to bring its negotiating terms to Parliament without delay”, adding that “there must be transparency and accountability to Parliament on the terms of Brexit”.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he feared a “betrayal” of the 51.9% of voters who backed leaving the EU in June’s referendum and voiced concern at the prospect of a “half Brexit”.


Ms May was going to invoke the “royal prerogative” (executive privilege) to initiate Brexit in March without the approval of Parliament.

The Prime Minister has now lost control of the entire Brexit process. The Court ruled that it is not up to ‘her’ - it is up to Parliament! :smiley:

**Analysis - BBC political correspondent Eleanor Garnier

It is one of the most important constitutional court cases in generations. And the result creates a nightmare scenario for the government.

Theresa May had said she wanted to start Brexit talks before the end of March next year but this ruling has thrown the prime minister’s timetable up in the air.

Campaigners who brought the case insist it was about “process not politics”, but behind the doors of No 10 there will now be serious head-scratching about what the government’s next steps should be.

This decision has huge implications, not just on the timing of Brexit but on the terms of Brexit. That’s because it’s given the initiative to those on the Remain side in the House of Commons who, it’s now likely, will argue Article 50 can only be triggered when Parliament is ready and that could mean when they’re happy with the terms of any future deal.

Of course, it will be immensely difficult to satisfy and get agreement from all those MPs who voted to remain. Could an early general election be on the cards after all?**

**British court delivers blow to E.U. exit plan, insists Parliament has a say

Most members of Parliament opposed Brexit in the lead-up to Britain’s June referendum, when voters opted for an exit by a 52-to-48 margin. On the streets, however, the court decision risked setting off an angry backlash from voters who favored leaving the European Union and believed the issue was settled.

May’s lawyers argued that she had the right to begin the Brexit process without first getting Parliament’s consent. But a three-judge panel on the London-based High Court sided with a group of plaintiffs who contended that Parliament must first weigh in.

“The most fundamental rule of the U.K.’s constitution is that Parliament is sovereign and can make and unmake any law it chooses,” the judges wrote. “As an aspect of the sovereignty of Parliament it has been established for hundreds of years that the Crown – i.e. the Government of the day – cannot by exercise of prerogative powers override legislation enacted by Parliament.”

May will now have to decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court. If she does, the proceedings could extend well into next year.

The court’s decision stunned British political and legal observers — just as the referendum outcome also defied the predictions that voters would favor staying in the E.U. family. Until Thursday, most analysts believed the court would side with the government.

It sparked an immediate rally in Britain’s beleaguered currency, the pound, as traders reacted to the possibility that Britain’s E.U. exit could be significantly delayed — or even blocked.

The pound has been battered since the referendum, and has been one of the worst performing currencies anywhere in the world this year. London’s FTSE exchange remained down slightly despite the announcement, but other markets, including France’s CAC, were higher in midday trading.

Pro-Brexit advocates quickly denounced the decision, saying it amounted to a betrayal of the public’s will.

“I now fear every attempt will be made to block or delay triggering Article 50,” tweeted Nigel Farage, a longtime Brexit champion. “They have no idea level of public anger they will provoke.”

Pro-E.U. politicians, meanwhile, celebrated the decision and called on May to share with Parliament her negotiating strategy — something she has steadfastly refused to do.


The wrexiteers will be furious.

Excellent :smiley:


The report here said that sterling would surge, which is all I really care about. My pension comes in from the UK and it has plummeted, I mean that… I have lost over a third, Just now it is hard to heat the house etc. A worrying winter ahead unless this changes for many expats,


It seems the UK courts are like the US. You can vote all you want to but if the vote doesn’t line up with the will of the powers that be the courts will invalidate it.


Not quite.

The Brexit “cause” trumpeted by Farage, Johnson, Gove and all the rest was prefixed upon the idea of “restoring sovereignty” to the British Parliament - “taking back control” from Brussels.

Almost as soon as the referendum is done and dusted, we then find that the Brexiteers actually don’t regard Parliament to be as sacred and supreme as they claimed during the campaign - indeed they don’t want Parliament to even have a say over initiating the greatest constitutional upheaval in our history since the Act of Union in 1707.

The High Court decision has merely rebuffed the outrageous hypocrisy inherent within the Brexit camp and May’s government. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Either Parliament should be sovereign or it shouldn’t be.

The “will of the people” cannot be arbitrarily invoked to undermine the principles of our time-honoured parliamentary democracy by “taking control” over the most significant event in our national life away from Parliament and handing it to an unelected Prime Minister to do as and when she pleases, without accountability from the legislature.

This is just completing the logic of “taking back control”, no? Whatever could be wrong with that :wink:


It’s the will of the courts that the process will be determined by normal constitutional means rather than just via “a device of dictators and demagogues” as Margaret Thatcher described referenda.

May’s Government had started out by treating the referendum as an ‘Enabling Act’ where the Government would determine everything about the terms and nature of Brexit with Parliament largely sidelined, bit by bit this strategy has been reversed.

Of course, I can understand that some people do prefer that the Executive can do what it likes without legislative approval.


I am certainly not very knowledgeable of the issues. But isn’t invoking Article 50 the necessary step to carry out the will of the people as voted on in a referendum approved by Parliament? If so it seems to me the parliament was involved in putting the question to a popular vote.

This ruling seems to make it so that this popular vote was just an opinion poll. That seems to be a very dangerous position. Also the vote wasn’t on the rhetoric. The vote was on the rather straightforward issue of whether the UK should remain in the EU. I don’t think the voters thought they were voting to give the parliament the power to leave the EU as the parliament already had such a prerogative.


Unfortunately for Wrexiters, the question might have been simple but the potential answers are far more complex.


That is the key point right there.

The vote was an answer to an eminently simple question: “Remain in or Leave the EU?” Nothing about the terms of our leaving and our future trading relationship with our continental neighbours across the channel, or when the process should be initiated or even by whom.

That was not part of the “mandate” of the popular vote bequeathed to the new government.

The referendum was a non-binding advisory vote. Britain is a parliamentary democracy and the central argument of the Brexiteers was that Brexit was about restoring sovereignty to Parliament that had been ceded over time to the EU Commission.

Will Parliament respect the narrow majority in favour of Leave? Yes it will but Parliament should not have to accept an unelected government that has assumed power on the basis of a mandate from the people - allegedly to return sovereign decision-making to our sovereign parliament by leaving a supranational union characterised by pooling of sovereignty among Member States - utterly overriding its authority by leaving the EU on terms not first assented too by parliament and without its approval. There is no mandate for a lack of due process and legislative scutiny. Nobody voted for an unaccountable government without oversight.

This is a victory for parliamentary democracy. The government would have acted illegally had it not consulted parliament in the initiation of the Article 50 process and regarding the terms of our leaving.


The government is appealing and this will be going to the Supreme Court with a decision, I believe I read or heard, in December.


Yes :thumbsup:


Why does Theresa May want to appeal the decision? Wasn’t she in the Stay camp before the referendum was voted on? And hasn’t it become obvious since the surprise outcome that this was a terrible decision?


An excellent result. Enough of the bizarre posturing of ‘hard brexit’ without any scrutiny by a legitimate parliamentary democracy. I appreciate with voted to leave and I respect that, I know many leave voters, but the vote wasn’t on whether we should just hold our nose and jump out of the plane without first checking the parachute.


Well said!


The fate of Theresa May’s political career now rests with Brexit and it going through. If it is botched up or hindered, she essentially loses the job she has quietly longed for her whole life.

The laughable thing is, a video of a secret speech she gave to Goldman Sachs before the referendum was leaked a week or so back, showing that she believed in private that Brexit would be an economic catastrophe that would cause businesses to pull out due to being unable to use Britain as a beachhead into the European single market. This has proved to be a serious embarrassment to her.

Her interests and those of the “three Brexiteers” - Boris Johnson, David David and Liam Fox - advising her in the cabinet, are at play here.

Call me cynical.


One wonders about the degree to which the voters knew this.

One wonders too about the degree to which Britain will cooperate with the EU afterward if Brexit doesn’t get whatever the parliamentary vote is supposed to be, and Britain fails to pay its EU tax or whatever is required of it, what is Brussels going to do? Send an invading army of bureaucrats armed with calculators and cell phones?

It’s pretty hard for me to picture parliament turning Brexit down. But then, I’m not a Brit, so what do I know?


It boggles my mind how much salt the Brexiteers get. Are Britons so in love with their chains? Why do they live in mortal terror of not being ruled over by distant bureaucrats? One only needs to look at Sweden and Germany to see that EU policies have been suicidal.

It’s time to disband the EU and NATO. Such Cold War relics only serve to enrich the globalists in Washington, Brussels, and Wall Street. We the People are left with their just desserts. A global McWorld is not going to be sustainable.


I think if the Supreme Court doesn’t side with the government and if they can’t go to the European Court of Justice and this does end up being voted on, I doubt it would be blocked because Conservative and Labour are the two biggest parties. I don’t think the majority of Conservative MPs are going to vote against party leader and prime minister Theresa May, and in regards to Labour, as “John Mills, the Labour donor and Brexit backer” says,

I find it inconceivable that MPs would take a stand against the clear wishes of their own constituents - especially in the 70 per cent of Labour constituencies that voted Leave.

Many MPs may well have voted Remain but they are aware that they represent the people in their area and, in my view, they have a duty to reflect those people’s majority view.

Labour voters chose Leave because the EU is bad for working people, their families and their future. Nothing has changed since the referendum.

Labour have already got problems… are many of their MPs going to want to block Brexit, when according to that article “70 per cent of Labour constituencies” voted for Brexit? If they voted to block Brexit, many of could be in big trouble in an upcoming election.


Absolutely true. She has gone from remainer to hard brexit in a heartbeat and cynicism is the only explanation for it, she can’t have had a lobotomy the minute she became leader that meant she was suddenly convinced of the Brexit view. I don’t believe it for a second.

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