Govt loses Supreme Court appeal on triggering Brexit
By Justin Cash
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Government cannot trigger Article 50 without putting it to a Parliamentary vote.
In a vote of eight to three, the Supreme Court has ruled that MPs must vote to approve the measure that would start the UK’s exit from the EU.
Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger said that proceeding without the consent of Parliament would be a “breach of settled constitutional principles established over centuries”.
Neuberger said: “Any change in the law must be made in the only way permitted by the constitution, and that is by an Act of Parliament.”
He noted that approving the addition of Article 50 into EU treaties was only done with a vote from MPs.
The legal challenge was launched by SCM Investments founder Gina Miller in July and supported by law firm Mishcon de Reya.
Miller argued that without parliamentary scrutiny and approval, invoking Article 50 would be unlawful.
In November, a court ruled that MPs should vote on Article 50, sending the pound up 1 per cent in the immediate aftermath of the decision.
The High Court found that the Government’s executive power could not go as far as tearing up parliamentary legislation that gives specific rights to British citizens such as the European Communities Act of 1972.
The case was passed to the Supreme Court after the Government appeal the High Court’s decision.
The Supreme Court spent four days hearing the Article 50 case in December.
Prime Minister Theresa May and the lawyers in the case were briefed earlier this morning on the result.
The Supreme Court judges have said on several occasions that they were deciding simply on a point of law and not on their views regarding Brexit.
Lord Neuberger said in his ruling today: “The issue in these proceedings has nothing to do with whether we should exit the EU, or the terms or timetable for that exit.”
Attorney General Jeremy Wright said that the Government was “disappointed with the outcome” but would accept the court’s ruling.
“We are fortunate to live in a country where…even the Government is subject to the rule of law.”
The pound initially rallied to $1.25189 but fell to $1.24543 as it was confirmed that Scotland and the other devolved assemblies do not get an vote on Article 50, which many believed could curb a hard Brexit.
Writing for the Guardian in light of the result, Miller said the Supreme Court’s decision was not a personal victory, but a victory for “our constitution, our laws, and, I would argue, our way of life”.