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Supreme Court judges thwart will of 17M Britons! May CAN’T trigger Brexit without MPs vote

THERESA MAY must gain the approval of MPs and unelected peers before triggering Brexit, the Supreme Court ruled today.

KEY POINTS:

• Theresa May NOT able to trigger Article 50 without Act of Parliament

• Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland WON’T have say on Article 50

• Brexit Secretary David Davis to address MPs at 12.30pm

• Government has already drafted Article 50 legislation

• Labour vow not to ‘frustrate’ Article 50 but will try to amend authorising Act of Parliament

• Liberal Democrats to vote against Article 50 without promise of second EU referendum

• Supreme Court accused of ‘fumbling’ law

• Read the full Supreme Court ruling here

In a verdict upholding a High Court decision, the UK’s most senior court this morning dismissed the Government’s appeal against last November’s verdict.By a majority of eight to three, the Supreme Court judges ruled the Government must gain an Act of Parliament before triggering Article 50.

Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, said: “The referendum is of great political significance, but the Act of Parliament which established it did not say what should happen as a result.

“So any change in the law to give effect to the referendum must be made in the only way permitted by the UK constitution, namely by an Act of Parliament.

“To proceed otherwise would be a breach of settled constitutional principles stretching back many centuries.”

But the Supreme Court boosted the Government by ruling devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not need to vote on Article 50 before Brexit can begin.

The verdict represents a major blow to Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s fight to influence Brexit negotiations or even act against her country being taken out of the EU.

The pound dipped in value on currency markets following this morning’s verdict but later staged a fightback.

Attorney-General Jeremy Wright, who presented the Government’s case during the Supreme Court hearing last month, said: “Of course the Government is disappointed with the outcome.”The Government will comply with the judgement and do all that is necessary to implement it.”

Mr Wright added the Supreme Court had been clear “it has not been deciding whether the UK should or should not leave the EU”.

He insisted “the people of the UK have already made that decision” and said Article 50 is now a “political matter and not a legal matter”.

Theresa MayPA

Theresa May must get the consent of MPs before triggering Article 50


Every democrat in Parliament should now support this legislation, so we can get on and deliver on the will of the British people

Tory MP Dominic Raab

Today’s ruling means the Prime Minister now has 67 days to secure the consent of Parliament before invoking Article 50 and beginning EU divorce talks.Mrs May has repeatedly vowed to trigger Article 50 by the end of March and had hoped to avoid a parliamentary showdown over Brexit by insisting ‘royal prerogative’ powers gave her the right to trigger Article 50 alone.

The Supreme Court today agreed with the High Court the Prime Minister does not have that power.

The Government is already believed to have drafted a short parliamentary bill aimed at authorising Brexit negotiations, which MPs could now vote on as early as next week.

Brexit Secretary David Davis will address the House of Commons later today.

Foreign Secretary and Vote Leave figurehead Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter: “Supreme Court has spoken. Now Parliament must deliver will of the people – we will trigger A50 by end of March. Forward we go!”

PA

Nicola Sturgeon lost her claim the Scottish Parliament must vote on Article 50


Despite the Supreme Court ruling that the Scottish Parliament is not required to vote on Article 50, Ms Sturgeon vowed to bring forward a vote in Holyrood and insisted there remains a “clear political obligation” for Mrs May to consult devolved parliaments.Repeating her threat of a second Scottish independence referendum, the SNP leader said: “It is becoming clearer by the day that Scotland’s voice is simply not being heard or listened to within the UK.

“The claims about Scotland being an equal partner are being exposed as nothing more than empty rhetoric and the very foundations of the devolution settlement that are supposed to protect our interests… are being shown to be worthless

“This raises fundamental issues above and beyond that of EU membership.

“Is Scotland content for our future to be dictated by an increasingly right-wing Westminster Government with just one MP here – or is it better that we take our future into our own hands?

“It is becoming ever clearer that this is a choice that Scotland must make.”

Supreme Court has spoken. Now Parliament must deliver will of the people – we will trigger A50 by end of March. Forward we go!

Tory MP and leading Brexit campaigner Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted the UK Government would now “legislate quickly” to gain parliamentary consent for Article 50.He said: “The Government was right to appeal as shown by the divided court but will now legislate quickly.

“This can be done by March 31 as the decision to leave has already been validated by the people.

“The clarity on devolution is very important because it stops further potentially vexatious delays.”

Fellow Conservative backbencher Dominic Raab, a member of the Change Britain group, said: “The Government was right to appeal, and the Supreme Court has usefully made clear that a short Bill authorising the start of negotiations is all that is needed.

“Let’s have an end to the wrecking tactics.

“Every democrat in Parliament should now support this legislation, so we can get on and deliver on the will of the British people, and secure the best possible deal for the whole country.”

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall declared the Supreme Court ruling will “make no real difference”. He said: “The will of the people will be heard, and woe betide those politicians or parties that attempt to block, delay, or in any other way subvert that will.”Other than making clear that this is a decision of the whole United Kingdom, rather than its constituent parts, what we can clearly see is that it will embolden those who rail against the decision of the people.

“It may give heart to those in the EU, used as they are to ignoring their own people, to attempt to play hard ball in the negotiations.

“But in the end I am convinced that though this skirmish has been lost in the courts, the war will be won”.

Ukip donor and Leave.EU chairman Arron Banks said: “Today’s judgment gives our out-of-touch Establishment the ability to soften or delay the clean Brexit a majority of the British people voted for.

“The people have been let down. Parliament gave us a referendum and the people had their say yet the power has now been handed back to Westminster by our unelected Establishment judges.

“This decision shows how broken the system is – true democracy is being thwarted.

“This Tory Government wants to be a champion for ordinary people, now Theresa May must prove it by driving Brexit through Parliament post-haste – 17.4 million voters will be watching her every move.”

SKY NEWS

Lead claimant Gina Miller hailed today’s ruling


Speaking outside the Supreme Court this morning Gina Miller, an investment manager and the lead claimant in the Article 50 challenge, said: “Today eight of the eleven Supreme Court judges upheld the judgement handed down by the Hight Court in November in a case that went to the very heart of our constitution and how we are governed.”Only Parliament can grant rights to the British people and only Parliament can take them away.

“No Prime Minister, no Government can expect to be unanswerable or unchallenged. Parliament alone is sovereign.

“This ruling today means that MPs we have elected will rightfully have the opportunity to bring their invaluable experience and expertise to bear in helping the Government to select the best course in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

“Negotiations that will frame our place in the world and all our destinies to come.

“There is no doubt that Brexit is the most divisive issue of a generation but this case was about the legal process not politics.

“Today’s decision has created legal certainty based on our democratic process and provides the legal foundations for the Government to trigger Article 50.”

PA

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall insisted ‘the war will be won’


Describing a “most arduous process” that has seen Ms Miller suffer death threats in the wake of November’s High Court ruling, the businesswoman thanked her lawyers for their support “in the face of extraordinary and unwarranted criticism”.She added: “In Britain we are lucky, we are fortunate to have the ability to voice legitimate concerns and views as part of a shared society.

“I have therefore been shocked by the levels of personal abuse that I have received from many quarters over the last seven months for simply bringing and asking a legitimate question.

“I sincerely hope that going forwards people who stand in positions of power and profile are much quicker in condemning those who cross the lines of common decency and mutual respect.”

Fears MPs could try and derail Brexit through a vote on Article 50 have been eased after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn insisted his party would not block Britain’s EU departure.

But it has been reported up to 80 Labour MPs, including some shadow cabinet members, could defy their party leader and vote against Article 50.The Liberal Democrats and SNP have already stated their MPs will try to defeat an Article 50 bill if their demands are not met.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “I welcome today’s judgement. But this court case was never about legal arguments, it was about giving the people a voice, a say, in what happens next.

“This Tory Brexit Government are keen to laud the democratic process when it suits them, but will not give the people a voice over the final deal. They seem happy to start with democracy and end in a stitch up.

“The Liberal Democrats are clear, we demand a vote of the people on the final deal and without that we will not vote for Article 50.”

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Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said his MPs would vote against Article 50


PA

Jeremy Corbyn said Labour will seek to amend Article 50 legislation


Opposition parties are also likely to try and add amendments to the bill in an attempt to meddle with Brexit negotiations.House of Commons clerks have told Labour they will not be able to add amendments relating to specific aspects of Article 50 talks, such as forcing the Government to ensure continued access to the Single Market as part of any Brexit deal.

But they could demand the Prime Minister officially publishes her Brexit negotiating aims and force a parliamentary vote on any exit deal early enough so the Government could be sent back to Brussels to negotiate a new one.

Responding to this morning’s Supreme Court judgment, Mr Corbyn said: “The Government has today been forced by the Supreme Court to accept the sovereignty of Parliament.

“Labour respects the result of the referendum and the will of the British people and will not frustrate the process for invoking Article 50.

“However, Labour will seek to amend the Article 50 Bill to prevent the Conservatives using Brexit to turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven off the coast of Europe.

“Labour is demanding a plan from the Government to ensure it is accountable to Parliament throughout the negotiations and a meaningful vote to ensure the final deal is given Parliamentary approval.”

SKY NEWS

Attorney-General Jeremy Wright admitted the Government were ‘disappointed’ by the ruling


But Brexit supporter and Labour MP Kate Hoey warned Mr Corbyn about meddling over Article 50.Highlighting upcoming by-elections in Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent Central, the Vauxhall MP said: “Labour is facing two very difficult by-elections in constituencies that voted overwhelmingly to leave.

“If Labour MP’s are seen to be frustrating the will of the people by opposing Article 50 then they will lose their seats.

“It is time for the Labour Party to support the Government by voting for Article 50 and working together to ensure the UK enjoys the global opportunities Brexit provides.”

In Brussels, leading MEP Manfred Weber, the chair of the European People’s Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament, used today’s Supreme Court ruling to repeat warnings MEPs could block Britain’s Brexit deal.

He posted on Twitter: “UK Supreme court ruling is clear: Parliaments must be respected. European Parliament will have the final say on #brexit

UK Supreme court ruling is clear: Parliaments must be respected. European Parliament will have the final say on @EPPGroup

SKY NEWS

Lord Neuberger reads out the Supreme Court decision


Meanwhile, despite previous threats from peers they could delay or even block the approval of Article 50, the House of Lords is also expected to authorise the start of Brexit talks.The Government has already put peers on notice it could revive efforts to curb the powers of the House of Lords if it hampers Brexit.

Tory MPs have also suggested swamping the House of Lords with hundreds of Brexit-backing peers should it vote against Article 50, while there have been calls to scrap the upper chamber completely if it defies the EU referendum result.

Dr Matthew Mokhefi-Ashton, a politics expert at Nottingham Trent University, said: “While some in the House of Lords  might see this an opportunity to amend, delay or even block Article 50, realpolitik is unlikely to allow this

“The House of Lords had a run in with the Government last year over its powers to interfere with House of Commons legislation and is unlikely to want to repeat this experience, especially over something as contentious as Brexit that was agreed by referendum.”

Professor Richard Ekins, from leading think tank Policy Exchange, claimed the Supreme Court had “fumbled the law” with its ruling.

He said: “This is a very disappointing decision which is not justified by long-standing legal principle. The claim should have failed. It is encouraging that at least some Justices saw through the claimant’s strained legal arguments.

“The High Court mishandled the relevant law, partly because the Government did not argue its case as well as it could have.  The Supreme Court has much less excuse.  It had the time and opportunity to consider carefully the flaws in the High Court’s judgment and the advantage of hearing much better legal argument from the Government.

“The Supreme Court’s judgment was not required to vindicate parliamentary sovereignty and is not supported by that fundamental principle of our constitution. It is probable that this poor judgment will not be as politically momentous as it might seem today. But this does not absolve the Supreme Court from its responsibility for mistaking the law.”

PA

The House of Lords has been warned against trying to block or delay Article 50


Welsh First Minister Carywn Jones and Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood yesterday set out their own Brexit plan for Wales, including keeping the UK in the EU’s Single Market and retaining Brussels’ freedom of movement rules.Commenting on today’s Supreme Court ruling, a Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We welcome the Supreme Court Judgment today which means that the UK Government must seek parliamentary approval in the form of a Bill before it can trigger Article 50 to leave the EU.

“It is vital that the UK Government develops an approach to negotiations which reflects the interests of Wales and the UK as a whole – an approach to which the Prime Minister has already publicly committed.

“The judgment preserves and recognises the importance of the Sewel convention whereby Parliament will not normally legislate on areas devolved to Wales and devolved governments without their consent.

“The Welsh Government will continue to work closely with the UK Government, and the other Devolved Administrations, through the Joint Ministerial Committee process to influence the overall UK position.  Our aims are to preserve single market access for business and to protect Welsh jobs and investment, along with the rights of workers.”

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/758089/Supreme-Court-ruling-Brexit-Article-50-Parliament-MPs-House-of-Lords-Theresa-May

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