Moments ago, in a much anticipated decision, the UK High Court opined on the UK's Brexit decision, and in a surprising loss for the government, it said that the Brexit question is purely legal and ruled against the government, stating that the the Article 50 trigger required Parliamentary approval.
The full judgment in the Article 50 case, as well as the summary just delivered in open court, online here https://t.co/ko9qwuvmXT— Conor James McKinney (@mckinneytweets) November 3, 2016
The decision means that the U.K. must hold a vote in Parliament before starting the two-year countdown to Brexit, a panel of London judges decided, setting up a constitutional confrontation at the country’s Supreme Court. London judges deliver a decision that could be a setback for Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to unilaterally start the process by the end of March by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
U.K. Trade Secretary Liam Fox said “the government is disappointed by the court’s judgement.” adding that "The country voted to leave the European Union in a referendum established by an act of Parliament." Speaking to lawmakers in the Hosue of Commons in London, Fox also said that "It’s right we consider it carefully before deciding how to proceed."
The UK Government seeks to appeal the ruling on December 7 at the Supreme Court.
Absent an overturn on appeal, lawmakers could now influence Theresa May's approach to Brexit and if a majority is opposed it could theoretically delay or even stop the process. Mrs. May’s ruling Conservative Party is the largest party in Parliament, with a majority of 15 seats.
More details from Sky News, which explains that according to the ruling, Theresa May cannot trigger Brexit without putting it to an MPs' vote in the House of Commons, the High Court has ruled.
The Government has lost its case that the Prime Minister had the right to act alone to trigger Article 50, the official EU divorce process. Mrs May is now expected to appeal the decision and the Supreme Court has earmarked December 7 and 8 to hear the case.
The case was brought by businesswoman Gina Miller and hairdresser Deir dos Santos, who are both British nationals.
The key plank of the case is Article 50. It says member states may leave the EU "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements". But this is open to interpretation, because the UK has not rules on leaving the EU, so the lawyers have been trying to provide the definition to their own side's advantage.
Theresa May has claimed that she has power under the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50 - without putting it to MPs.
Although there have been suggestions the Prime Minister might not appeal deciding she does not want to risk losing again in the Supreme Court.
She might decide it is worth taking the gamble that MPs will not want to defy voters by refusing to back triggering Brexit, although there are many in seats which voted overwhelmingly to remain.
* * *
That said, the Government has been given the go-ahead to appeal against the ruling at the Supreme Court, and the court announced it has already set aside time for Brexit appeal.
And while the fate of Article 50, and Brexit in general, now appears to be in temporary limbo, cable has surged, rising as high as 1.2450 before retracing some of its gains.
And some more legal details from the ruling:
Skimming through Art 50 judgment. Here the High Court confirms just how special EU law and European Communities Act are pic.twitter.com/IAiVSvzIXq— Conor James McKinney (@mckinneytweets) November 3, 2016
Court accepted that the 1972 Act gives EU law rights effect in UK law, and says not the point that some might be retained after Brexit pic.twitter.com/7W4iXex98j— Conor James McKinney (@mckinneytweets) November 3, 2016
Government suggestion that EU law rights comes from treaties as well as the 1972 Act rejected as "divorced from reality". All about the Act.— Conor James McKinney (@mckinneytweets) November 3, 2016
Interesting side note: court says no need to rehearse the arguments in full in their judgment as transcripts on the internet for all to see. pic.twitter.com/5oc7LuOBpo— Conor James McKinney (@mckinneytweets) November 3, 2016
Here's a sentence of legal writing for you. Basically Parliament can't be taken to have intended to leave govt with the power to leave EU. pic.twitter.com/PPu6mlx6Hs— Conor James McKinney (@mckinneytweets) November 3, 2016