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Brexit latest news: Theresa May to introduce Bill 'within days' after Supreme Court ruling

Supreme Court says Government must seek parliamentary approval to trigger Article 50

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 24 January 2017 08:31 GMT
Supreme Court rules parliament must vote on Brexit

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The Supreme Court has ruled Theresa May cannot withdraw Britain from the EU alone and must get approval from MPs and peers first.

Here are the latest updates

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Their decision will affect whether Ms May has enough authority to trigger Article 50 on her own, the process through which a country can begin to leave the EU.he case has been brought by banker Gina Miller, along with other appellants including a crowd-funded cohort titled The Peoples' Challenge. They argued that despite the 23 June referendum, which saw Britain vote to leave the EU, MPs are still entitled to vote on whether or not it actually happens.

In November, the High Court heard the case and ruled against the government. The Prime Minister's lawyers appealed the case meaning it was transferred to the Supreme Court.

It is widely expected the government will also lose this case.

Ms May has spoken of her desire to trigger Article 50 by the end of March.

She has also outlined a so-called Hard Brexit, which would feature withdrawal from the single market.


Welcome to The Independent's live blog on the Supreme Court's Brexit ruling.

Today, Britain's most senior judges will decide if Theresa May has the power to trigger the formal process for the UK to exit the European Union. 

Samuel Osborne24 January 2017 07:49
Samuel Osborne24 January 2017 07:50

The ruling is expected at 9.30am today.

Samuel Osborne24 January 2017 07:53
Samuel Osborne24 January 2017 08:20

When will the Supreme Court announce its decision?

The Supreme Court will rule at 9.30am on Tuesday whether Theresa May has sufficient authority to withdraw the UK from the European Union, or if parliament must have a say in her plans. 

The judges, who are the most senior in the country, will deliver their verdict on whether MPs are entitled to a vote on whether the Prime Minister triggers Article 50, the formal mechanism by which EU withdrawal can commence.

What are the two sides arguing over?

Speaking on behalf of Ms May, government lawyers have argued the referendum of 23 June, in which a slim majority voted for Brexit, means she has sufficient mandate to act. They also argued that Prime Ministers have traditionally acted to sign international treaties or agreements with other countries, without approval from parliament.

However, those taking the case against the government have argued Ms May requires the approval of parliament before she can act. They have claimed that under constitutional law, only parliament can be responsible for taking away the rights of citizens. As cessation of EU membership would result in the loss of certain rights such as freedom of movement, or the right to vote in EU elections, British citizens will lose rights in this instance and so only parliament can enact Brexit, their lawyers told the court.

Who has brought the case forward?

The case is brought against the government by a number of parties, including Gina Miller, a philanthropist and former investment banker. She is also joined by a crowd-funded initiative known as the People’s Challenge, comprised of pro-EU “concerned citizens”.

The legal challenge first went to the High Court in November, where judges ruled against the government and found parliamentary approval must be sought. However, the government appealed the verdict, whereupon the case was referred to the Supreme Court.

Upon appeal, applicants from Northern Ireland were also allowed to join the case in order to make their argument that leaving the EU without consulting the Stormont parliament may be a violation of the Good Friday Agreement, the peace treaty which ended the Troubles conflict.

Who is expected to win the case?

The Government is widely expected to lose this case upon appeal too, with the Supreme Court anticipated to rule in favour of Ms Miller and the Peoples’ Challenge. However, as the new material from Northern Ireland has now been allowed to be considered, it is possible that the Supreme Court could also rule that the devolved parliaments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland must also get a say on whether to trigger Article 50, by approving a Legislative Consent Motion. This raises the possibility that the devolved administrations could block or delay Brexit, as a majority of people in Northern Ireland and Scotland both voted Remain.

Kristin Hugo24 January 2017 08:32
Samuel Osborne24 January 2017 08:34

This is from the Press Association on Ken Clarke's interview on Radio 4 this morning:

Parliament must be allowed to challenge Theresa May's plans for Brexit to avoid the "tyranny of the majority" silencing other views, Ken Clarke has said.

The veteran former Cabinet minister, who said he would vote against Article 50 being triggered, said many of his Conservative colleagues shared the view that Parliament must be allowed to shape the plans for quitting the European Union.

The Europhile former chancellor said it would be undemocratic if MPs and peers were not allowed to vote on issues of "huge importance".

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "I may be, probably, possibly, the only Conservative who votes against Article 50.

"But once we get past that stage, there are lots of Conservative MPs who agree with me that Parliament must be allowed to have a view on the single market, the customs union, what access industries and businesses and services have to Europe and vice versa."

Allowing the Cabinet to decide on the nature of Brexit, rather than MPs and peers, would be "totally undemocratic", he said.

"It's not exactly mob rule, but it is the tyranny of the majority being imposed to silence people's opinions on complicated issues of huge importance for the future."

Kristin Hugo24 January 2017 09:07

This is from the BBC's Political Editor:

Kristin Hugo24 January 2017 09:08

The Supreme Court is now sitting to read out the judgement

Kristin Hugo24 January 2017 09:35

BREAKING: Supreme Court rules Government must consult Parliament to trigger Article 50.

Majority 8-3

Kristin Hugo24 January 2017 09:38

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