Government to respond to High Court Brexit ruling


The government is to give its official response later to the High Court’s decision that Parliament should vote on the formal process of leaving the EU.

Ministers lost their case last week, after arguing they did not need the consent of MPs and peers to make the choice of when to trigger Article 50.

Campaigners say that giving Parliament a vote is vital in a democracy.

Prime Minister Theresa May will not give the statement to MPs at 15:30 GMT as she is on a trade visit to India.

The High Court ruled last Thursday that Parliament should have a say on the timing of invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which gets two years of official talks with the EU under way.

But the government is appealing to the Supreme Court, with a hearing to take place in early December.

Meanwhile, UKIP interim leader Nigel Farage has warned of protests on the streets if the decision in favour of leaving the EU in June’s referendum is ignored.

But Gina Miller, the lead claimant in the case against the government, said a parliamentary vote would prevent ministers acting like a “tin-pot dictatorship”.

Mrs May has promised to invoke Article 50 by the end of next March and insists the High Court’s ruling will not affect this plan.

Before departing for India on Sunday, she said: “The British people, the majority of the British people, voted to leave the European Union. The government is now getting on with that.”

Labour says it will not seek to delay the process, with deputy leader Tom Watson telling the BBC on Sunday: “We are not going to hold this up. The British people have spoken and Article 50 will be triggered when it comes to Westminster.”

But Scotland’s Brexit minister, Michael Russell, said he could not imagine any circumstances in which SNP MPs would vote in favour of triggering Article 50.

In the summer, UK voters opted by 51.9% to 48.1% in favour of Brexit.