UK

Supreme Court Brexit Ruling: Government Must Consult MPs Over Article 50

Government loses its Brexit challenge.

24/01/2017 09:38 GMT | Updated 24/01/2017 12:45 GMT

LATEST: Legislation will be introduced “within days” to ensure that the Government can stick to its timetable of triggering the process of leaving the European Union by the end of March, Brexit Secretary David Davis has told MPs.

The UK Government must seek the approval of MPs before commencing Brexit, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The landmark ruling follows a legal challenge by the Government after a High Court ruling in November found the Prime Minister did not have the authority to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty without consulting MPs and peers.

By upholding the High Court judgement, Parliament will now have the right to debate and vote on invoking Article 50.

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Campaigners and media gathered for the decision at the Supreme Court in London
Supreme Court
Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger read out the ruling on Tuesday
Supreme Court
Lawyers, campaigners and journalists sat in the Supreme Court for the decision

In an unprecedented move, all 11 Supreme Court justices sat as a panel to hear the latest appeal.

The court voted against the Government’s appeal by eight votes to three.

Watch the ruling, above.

[SEE ALSO: Labour Ready To Block A ‘Bad’ Brexit Deal, Even Though It Won’t Stop Article 50]

Meanwhile campaigners who brought the challenge to the court spoke of their successful challenge. 

Gina Miller, the lead complainant, said: “This ruling today means that MPs we have elected will rightfully have the opportunity to bring their experience and expertise to the there is no doubt that Brexit is the most divisive issue of a generation.

“This case was about the legal process not the decision.”

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Gina Miller, the lead complainant, spoke of her successful challenge outside the Supreme Court
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A man waves a flag outside the Supreme Court shortly before the ruling was officially announced

Miller commented on the pressure she has received during the court battle.

“There is no doubt that Brexit is the most divisive issue of a generation but this case was about the legal process not politics,” she said.

“I have been shocked by the levels of personal abuse I have received…for simply bringing and asking a legitimate question.

“I sincerely hope that going forwards, people who stand in positions of power and profile are much quicker in condemning those who cross the lines of common decency and respect.”

David Green, who represented campaigner Deir Dos Santos, also referred to media coverage.

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David Green, lawyer for Deir Dos Santos, spoke of vitriolic media coverage in his statement outside the court
The Daily Mail branded High Court judges 'enemies of the people' in November

“The judges are not the enemies of the people, they are for the people - to stop arbitrary action by a Government,” he said.

Green’s comments appeared to reference the Daily Mail’s front page headline branding High Court judges ‘enemies of the people’.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright said outside the court the Government would comply with the ruling.

“The Government is disappointed with the outcome,” he added.

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Attorney General Jeremy Wright said outside the court the Government would comply with the ruling

While Downing Street said: “The British people voted to leave the EU, and the Government will deliver on their verdict - triggering Article 50, as planned, by the end of March. Today’s ruling does nothing to change that.

“It’s important to remember that Parliament backed the referendum by a margin of six to one and has already indicated its support for getting on with the process of exit to the timetable we have set out.

“We respect the Supreme Court’s decision, and will set out our next steps to Parliament shortly.”

Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Liz Truss said an independent judiciary was “the cornerstone of the rule of law”.

Brexit Secretary David Davis is set to make a Commons statement at lunchtime, with legislation following later this week.

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Downing Street said today's ruling does not change the fact Article 50 will be triggered
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Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Liz Truss said an independent judiciary was “the cornerstone of the rule of law”

A spokesperson for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Labour respects the result of the referendum and the will of the British people and will not frustrate the process for invoking Article 50.

“However, Labour will seek to amend the Article 50 Bill to prevent the Conservatives using Brexit to turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven off the coast of Europe. 

“Labour will seek to build in the principles of full, tariff-free access to the single market and maintenance of workers’ rights and social and environmental protections.

“Labour is demanding a plan from the Government to ensure it is accountable to Parliament throughout the negotiations and a meaningful vote to ensure the final deal is given Parliamentary approval.”