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UK Government Cannot Trigger EU Exit Without Parliament Approval

Sputnik News

21:34 03.11.2016

UK parliament should aprove the formal process of leaving the European Union by triggering Article 50 of EU's Lisbon Treaty, according to the decision of the High Court.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The UK parliament must vote on whether the government should start the formal process of leaving the European Union by triggering Article 50 of EU's Lisbon Treaty, the High Court ruled Thursday.

The court decision has called into question Prime Minister Theresa May's promise that London would officially notify Brussels of UK's exit by the end of next March. Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon has already indicated her party would vote against invoking the article.

The pound sterling rose by over 1 percent against the dollar an hour after Gina Miller, one of the government's challengers, announced the victory in the legal battle.


The case was filed by Gina Miller, hairdresser Deir Dos Santos, and the People's Challenge group, a crowdfunding campaign represented by the Bindmans law firm. Hearings began in October.

England's High Court eventually ruled that "the Government does not have power under the Crown's prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 for the UK to withdraw from the European Union."

David Davis, the secretary of state for exiting the European Union who represented the government in court, accused judges of "calling the shots" and taking power from the people in a tweet, saying "this is precisely why we voted out."

The minister told local broadcaster BBC that the Commons voted six to one to give the decision on UK's membership in the European Union to Brits, and their support of exit was the biggest mandate the government ever got. He said they were going to appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court.

UKIP's former leader Nigel Farage said he was worried a "betrayal may be near at hand" and cautioned Brexit opposion against angering the public.

"I now fear every attempt will be made to block or delay triggering Article 50. They have no idea [about the] level of public anger they will provoke," he tweeted.

The British government set a timetable for exiting the European Union after 51.9 percent of UK voters backed leaving the European Union in the June 23 referendum. Formal talks on the terms of UK's future relationship with the bloc were to begin early next year and last for two years.


Following the judgment, Liberal Democrat's Home Affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael told Sputnik that the UK government needed to lay down a better strategy for the EU divorce process.

"After today's High Court judgement in London the government's Brexit strategy, such as it is, is in tatters. It's time that Theresa May got to grips with the reality of Brexit instead of wishing away the difficulties," Carmichael said.

LibDem Party leader Tim Farron said that, given the strict two-year timetable of exiting the European Union, "it is critical that the government now lay out their negotiating to Parliament" before the vote is held.

"Ultimately, the British people voted for a departure but not for a destination, which is why what really matters is allowing them to vote again on the final deal, giving them the chance to say no to an irresponsible hard Brexit that risks our economy and our jobs," he pointed out.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in a statement that a vote in parliament would expose "the complete lack of a plan for what Brexit means."

"In whatever eventually comes forward from the UK Government to parliament, SNP MPs will not vote in any way that would undermine Scotland's interests," she said, after previously threatening London with a new referendum on Scottish independence if Brexit became reality.

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn meanwhile called on the Tory government to urgently consult lawmakers on the negotiating terms for UK's withdrawal.

"This ruling underlines the need for the Government to bring its negotiating terms to parliament without delay… there must be transparency and accountability to parliament on the terms of Brexit," he said in a statement.

David Davis told BBC the government would probably need a full Act of Parliament to proceed with the EU divorce, which requires approval of both houses of parliament and can be subject to numerous amendments.


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