UK Supreme Court has ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May must seek Parliament approval before she can trigger Article 50.
This is a huge setback for her and the stiff Brexit timeline that she had planned to start by the end of March 2017.
In addition to the ruling, the 11 justices’ panel decided that Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies will not have a say in the matter, reports The Telegraph.
While speaking to MPs over the court ruling, Brexit Secretary David Davis announced that a comprehensive bill will soon be tabled in parliament.
What the Supreme Court case was about
The Supreme Court case had two camps, the government – claiming it has the mandate to trigger Article 50 without parliament. The other group was composed of those advocating for ministers to seek parliament approval before making any Brexit decision.
The opponents said that when Article 50 is triggered, it will change UK laws and that is something that has to pass through the UK parliament.
The government’s argument has always been ministers have Royal Prerogative powers and it can thus make the move without consulting Parliament.
In addition, it said that MPs overwhelmingly voted for the referendum without being aware of what it meant.
The Court’s Ruling
Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger read the judgment saying that 8 judges against three voted for parliament to have a vote on Article 50.
He said that “Withdrawal effects a fundamental change by cutting off the source of EU law, as well as changing legal rights.”
It is a requirement by the UK constitution for such fundamental change to be authorized by Parliament.
The Supreme Court further by a unanimous vote agreed to block out Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly from voting on Article 50.
Lord Neuberger supported this decision with declaration that the EU/UK relations can only be defined by the UK government.
While speaking to the MPs, David Davis insisted that this will not delay Brexit.