Brexit legal challenge: The High Court judge's 7 most damning statements on Theresa May's government

The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union's case, for bypassing parliament, was 'divorced from reality' and 'flawed at this basic level'

Peter Walker
Thursday 03 November 2016 16:01 GMT
(AFP/Getty Images)

The senior judge who vetoed Theresa May's attempt to trigger the European Union withdrawal, without a vote in parliament, fired a string of damning verdicts at the government in court.

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas branded the government’s legal arguments as “divorced from reality” and “flawed at this basic level”.

He also compared their case to the unlawful legal attempt by the then-Home Secretary to introduce tariffs for criminal injury compensation in 1995.

Picture: (NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images) (Getty)

The landmark High Court judgement ruled that Theresa May does “not have power” to trigger Article 50.

Here are seven of the most strongly worded and critical quotes from the 32-page judgement.

1) The Secretary of State (for Exiting the European Union's) submission, in our view, glossed over an important aspect of this starting point for the interpretation of the European Communities Act 1972, and proceeded to a contention that the onus was on the claimants to point to express language in the statute.

2) The Secretary of State’s submission left out part of the relevant constitutional background. It was omitted.

3) In our view, the Secretary of State’s submission is flawed at this basic level.

4) The powerful constitutional principle that the Crown has no power to alter the law of the land by use of its prerogative powers is the product of an especially strong constitutional tradition in the United Kingdom. It evolved through the long struggle to assert parliamentary sovereignty and constrain the Crown’s prerogative powers. It would be surprising indeed if, in the light of that tradition, parliament, as the sovereign body under our constitution, intended to leave [this] continued existence.

5) The Crown cannot simply make and ratify ancillary treaties in the exercise of its prerogative powers and thereby create legal effects in domestic law.

6) [The Secretary of State’s interpretation of the evolvement of EU law on other member states for the benefit of British citizens] is a submission which is divorced from reality.

7) In our view, the Secretary of State’s submission is flawed at this basic level

High court rules Brexit needs Parliamentary approval

The pound has enjoyed a 1 per cent rise on the dollar, the biggest jump since August, in the aftermath of the judgement.

Jeremy Corbyn meanwhile says Labour will push on with the UK’s bid to leave the EU, while Nigel Farage says Parliament has “no idea what anger they will provoke".

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