Brexit may not happen
Sources close to RI have confirmed that Brexit will not happen before a majority vote in parliament.
The High Court has ruled that Members of Parliament must decide whether the UK can begin the process of leaving the EU.
The decision means the Government cannot go ahead with Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - which would begin exit negociation with the EU - untill a vote has been passed to do so in Parliament.
The Goverment has stated it will appeal the ruling on the basis that it represents the general public and intends to uphold the Brexit vote.
Law firm Mishcon de Reya represented the Lead Claimant, Ms Gina Miller. Following news of yesterday's decision, the company stated, "In relation to yesterday's Article 50 decision, we are pleased that the Court has upheld our client's argument that Government does not have the power to trigger Article 50 under the Royal Prerogative. We understand that the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU plans to appeal. We expect the Supreme Court to uphold this very clear decision."
The case concerned whether the Government has Royal Prerogative powers to serve notice in the absence of statutory authorisation by Parliament. The Lead Claimant argues that it did not, because:
- the purpose and legal effect of notification will be to extinguish or at least substantially reduce the rights and duties currently part of our Constitution through the European Communities Act 1972
- only Parliament can decide whether or not to do this
- prerogative powers cannot be used to pre-empt such a decision by Parliament and, in particular, whether to continue with the statutory scheme set out in the 1972 Act which grants rights to individuals such as the Lead Claimant.
The arguments set out in the legal challenge stated that the limits of the powers of the executive branch of Government is a question of constitutional importance. It was argued that The European Referendum Act 2015 was, as a matter of law, advisory - nowhere in the 2015 Act does it specify the consequences that should follow from the referendum result. It was also argued that The Article 50 notification by Royal Prerogative would remove a large number of rights from our law, including those under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, without Parliamentary approval.
The Great Repeal Bill announced by the Prime Minister on 2nd October has no relevance to this case, which concerns whether the Government can use prerogative powers to serve notice.