Se­nior of­fi­cials urge PM to drop Brexit ap­peal

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THREE prom­i­nent mem­bers of Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s Con­ser­va­tive Party have urged her to drop the gov­ern­ment’s ap­peal against a court rul­ing that par­lia­ment must ap­prove the process to trig­ger Brexit.

Oliver Letwin, for­mer head of the gov­ern­ment’s Brexit prepa­ra­tions, for­mer law of­fi­cer Ed­ward Garnier and for­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral Do­minic Grieve all warned that the Supreme Court ap­peal could de­lay the trig­ger­ing of Ar­ti­cle 50 of the Euro­pean Union’s Lis­bon Treaty, which be­gins for­mal exit talks.

The com­ments come a day af­ter the court ruled the de­volved Scot­tish and Welsh gov­ern­ments will be al­lowed to in­ter­vene in the ap­peal, due to take place next month.

Mr Letwin told BBC Ra­dio 4 that the gov­ern­ment should scrap the ap­peal and in­stead de­liver a “fast and tightly timetabled and con­strained bill” to par­lia­ment, avoid­ing “any risk of the Supreme Court de­cid­ing to ac­cord the de­volved ad­min­is­tra­tions some rights or even some veto pow­ers”.

Mr Garnier called on Ms May to “avoid an un­nec­es­sary le­gal row” that could pit judges against the gov­ern­ment and in­volve a “lot of un­nec­es­sary ex­pense”.

Mr Grieve added that he “can’t see the point in the gov­ern­ment con­tin­u­ing with the case and ... if they en­act pri­mary leg­is­la­tion, they will get it through par­lia­ment”.

All three were in favour of Bri­tain re­main­ing in the EU, but proBrexit for­mer cabi­net min­is­ter Owen Pater­son also urged the gov­ern­ment to shelve the ap­peal.

“I wouldn’t have a bet on the gov­ern­ment win­ning this one,” he told BBC Ra­dio 4. “It is not good to have a con­fronta­tion with the courts.”

In re­sponse, 60 Con­ser­va­tive MPs backed a state­ment sent to the Daily Tele­graph call­ing on Ms May to seek a full exit from EU in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing the sin­gle mar­ket.

“The UK must leave the Euro­pean Eco­nomic Area [EEA] and the Cus­toms Union,” said the state­ment, backed by seven for­mer cabi­net ministers in­clud­ing Michael Gove and Iain Dun­can Smith.

Ms May ini­tially wanted to use her ex­ec­u­tive pow­ers to trig­ger the start of the process with­out par­lia­men­tary ap­proval by the end of March, but the High Court rul­ing could de­lay the process.

The ini­tial rul­ing prompted out­rage among Brexit sup­port­ers and parts of the con­ser­va­tive press, with one tabloid brand­ing the judges “En­e­mies of the peo­ple” – an at­tack that sparked a fierce con­tro­versy.

The con­cern among the proBrexit camp is that pro-Euro­pean law­mak­ers will seek to wa­ter down the break with the EU and de­rail Ms May’s timetable. –

Photo: EPA

Do­minic Grieve warns that an ap­peal could de­lay Brexit.

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