Rul­ing to slow Brexit progress

U.K. High Court: Process re­quires par­lia­men­tary vote

Baltimore Sun - - WORLD - By Jill Law­less and Dan­ica Kirka

LON­DON — Bri­tain’s plans to leave the Euro­pean Union hit a large speed bump Thurs­day, as the High Court of Jus­tice ruled that the gov­ern­ment can’t start exit ne­go­ti­a­tions with­out a vote in Par­lia­ment.

The judg­ment deep­ened Bri­tain’s di­vide over Europe, rais­ing hopes among pro-EU politi­cians that they can soften the terms of the U.K.’s with­drawal from the bloc. “Leave” cam­paign­ers say any at­tempt to do that would be a be­trayal of vot­ers’ de­ci­sion.

The gov­ern­ment im­me­di­ately said it would ask the Supreme Court to over­turn the rul­ing. The Court has set aside time in early De­cem­ber to hear the case.

Thurs­day’s rul­ing could de­lay gov­ern­ment plans to start talks on Bri­tain’s EU exit, or Brexit, within weeks, and opens a ma­jor con­sti­tu­tional bat­tle over the bal­ance of power be­tween Par­lia­ment and the gov­ern­ment.

Brexit Sec­re­tary David Davis said Bri­tain’s June 23 vote to leave the EU “must be re­spected.”

“The peo­ple want us to get on with it, and that is what we are go­ing to do,” he said.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May has said she will use cen­turies- old pow­ers known as royal pre­rog­a­tive to in­voke Ar­ti­cle 50 of the EU treaty, which launches two years of exit ne­go­ti­a­tions, by the end of March.

The pow­ers — tra­di­tion­ally held by the monarch but now used by politi­cians — en­able de­ci­sions about in­ter­na­tional treaties and other is­sues to be made with­out a vote of Par­lia­ment.

Sev­eral claimants chal­lenged May’s right to act. They ar­gued that leav­ing the EU will re­move rights, in­clud­ing free move­ment within the bloc, and that it couldn’t be done with­out Par­lia­ment’s ap­proval.

Three se­nior judges agreed, rul­ing that “the gov­ern­ment does not have the power un­der the Crown’s pre­rog­a­tive to give no­tice pur­suant to Ar­ti­cle 50 for the U.K. to with­draw from the Euro­pean Union.”

The judges backed the claimants’ ar­gu­ment that the gov­ern­ment could not re­move Bri­tons’ le­gal rights “un­less Par­lia­ment had con­ferred upon the Crown author­ity to do so.”

The rul­ing in­fu­ri­ated pro-Brexit cam­paign­ers, who see the law­suit as an at­tempt to block or de­lay Bri­tain’s EU exit.

U.K. In­de­pen­dence Party leader Nigel Farage, who helped lead the cam­paign to leave the EU, tweeted: “I worry that a be­trayal may be near at hand.”

It’s un­likely the rul­ing will stop Bri­tain leav­ing the EU even­tu­ally. Most law­mak­ers ac­cept that vot­ers’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.