Brexit legal challenge: Pound surges as U.K High Court rules against Brexit
(UNITED KINGDOM INDEPENDENT- November 03, 2016) Theresa May’s plans for triggering Brexit were plunged into chaos today by a sensational High Court judgment that she cannot bypass Parliament.
Three judges ruled the Prime Minister does not have the right to use the Royal Prerogative to invoke the Article 50 notice to leave the EU without involving MPs and peers.
The extraordinary development throws into confusion whether Ms May can stick to her timetable to trigger Article 50 by the end of March – and leave the EU by spring 2019.
If it leads to the Government being forced to push a Bill through Parliament – with numerous chances for it to be amended – there is thought to be virtually no chance of that timetable being achieved.
The Government immediately confirmed it would challenge the ruling at the Supreme Court, with speculation the case could end up at the European Court of Justice.
The pound immediately surged on the news, as the markets judged it would make it more difficult – at the very least – for Ms May to pursue a so-called ‘hard Brexit‘.
Sterling rose by 1 per cent against the dollar trading above $1.24 in the immediate aftermath of the ruling.
That’s the first time its broken above $1.24 in three weeks.
The pound also hit a one-week high of 89.135p per euro after the decision was announced.
In a devastating judgment for the Government, the Lord Chief Justice said its arguments had been contrary to “fundamental constitutional principles of the sovereignty of parliament”.
The ruling said: “The court does not accept the argument put forward by the government. There is nothing in the text of the 1972 Act [to join the EU] to support it.”
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, hailed the decision as “the chance to say no to an irresponsible hard Brexit that risks our economy and our jobs”.
He said: “It is critical that the government now lay out their negotiating to Parliament, before such a vote is held. So far, May’s team have been all over the place.”
But a furious Nigel Farage said: “I worry that a betrayal may be near at hand. Our political class, who were out in force, do not accept the 23rd of June Referendum result.
“I now fear that every attempt will be made to block or delay the triggering of Article 50. If this is so, they have no idea of the level of public anger they will provoke.”
It is thought unlikely that MPs will seek to block Brexit, because – although a majority were pro-Remain – many now accept the verdict of voters in June.
However, MPs – and peers in the House of Lords – could be handed the opportunity to challenge, or even delay, the process, if they are not satisfied with the Government’s strategy.
The ruling is a huge blow to Ms May, who tore into MPs wanting to influence Brexit at the Conservative conference, claiming they “are not standing up for democracy, they’re trying to subvert it”.
She said: “They’re not trying to get Brexit right, they’re trying to kill it by delaying it. They are insulting the intelligence of the British people.”
The challenge was brought by Gina Miller, a London businesswoman, arguing the inevitable consequence of invoking Article 50 was the loss of statutory rights enjoyed by UK and EU citizens.
They included the right to refer a legal case to the European Court of Justice, of freedom of movement and to sell services – rights which should only be taken away by Parliament.
The Attorney General argued, unsuccessfully, that the court challenge was an attempt to “invalidate” the public’s decision, in the June referendum, to leave the EU.