Globalist Strike Back As “Brexit” Gets Complicated
As was widely expected, the highest U.K. court ruled Prime Minister Theresa May must seek an act of Parliament to trigger the two-year countdown to Brexit, handing lawmakers a chance to soften the government’s plan.
The court ruled against the government by an 8-3 vote, Judge David Neuberger said Tuesday. The judges ruled unanimously, however, that legislatures in Scotland and Northern Ireland don’t get to vote on the Article 50 process.
The judges said the withdrawal will make a fundamental change by cutting off the source of European Union law, as well as changing legal rights. The U.K.’s constitutional arrangements require such changes to be clearly authorized by parliament, and lawmakers must be involved in triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, they ruled.
“Only legislation which is embodied in a statute will do,” Neuberger said. “A resolution of the House of Commons is not legislation. What form such legislation should take is entirely a matter for Parliament.”
The decision is a defeat for May’s argument that she alone had the power to begin the country’s withdrawal from the European Union. The need to now win the approval of lawmakers threatens her March 31 deadline for starting the divorce talks, although most colleagues say they won’t try to stop the breakup given 52 percent of voters backed it in last June’s referendum.
A bill to implement Article 50 will have to go through five stages in each of the two chambers of Parliament. There are votes at each stage, and lots of opportunities for dissenters to propose amendments. Both houses must agree on the wording of the final law.
Parliamentary critics of May including some within her own Conservative Party can seize the opportunity to shape her strategy amid concern she risks hurting the economy by jeopardizing trade to win control of immigration.
May plans to rush through a parliamentary motion or short bill, designed to keep her timetable on track and give as little scope for amendments as possible.
The ruling that politicians in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland didn’t need to have a say before talks are triggered will be some comfort to May, as Scotland probably would have voted to block leaving the EU.
The pound fell 0.5 percent to 1.2474 pounds after the ruling. Sterling had rallied last week when May said she would give Parliament a vote on the final deal she negotiates with the EU. But by the time they vote on the final settlement, with the two-year talks deadline approaching, the choice they will face will be between accepting the terms or allowing Britain to fallout of the bloc without a deal.
The government had hoped to avoid a vote for fear lawmakers would bog down her plans. A majority in the lower chamber, the House of Commons, supported remaining in the EU and many members of the unelected upper chamber, the Lords, have also expressed concerns.
The chance of amendments rose after May last Tuesday outlined her vision, pledging to leave the EU’s single market to win control of immigration and lawmaking — essentially a so-called hard Brexit.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said that while the opposition won’t frustrate Article 50, it will try to amend the bill. He aims to “build in the principles of full, tariff-free access to the single market,” to ensure the government is accountable to Parliament through the negotiations and to put the final deal to a “meaningful” vote.
Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, former coalition partners of May’s Conservatives when her predecessor David Cameron was premier, said his party will vote against Article 50 unless the government agrees to subject the ultimate Brexit pact to a referendum.
While May said last week that Parliament would a say on whatever final deal she negotiates with the EU, the Article 50 vote remains key as it may be the only opportunity lawmakers have to shape the process.
By the time they debate the final settlement, with the two-year deadline looming, the choice they will face will be between accepting the terms or allowing Britain to fall out of the bloc without a deal.