Democracy Shattered in UK as BREXIT Denied
Despite the people of the UK Voting to leave the EU, a British Court has said not so fast.
“Our democracy is being damaged by an elite band of people in the legal system,” Richard Tice, co-chairman of the Leave Means Leave campaign. “A vote in Parliament is wholly unnecessary, time consuming and betrays the democratic will of the people.”
Nigel Farage, head of the anti-EU party UKIP, said on Twitter that he feared the ruling could turn into an attempt to scupper Brexit altogether.
“I worry that a betrayal may be near at hand,” he said, warning that attempts to block or delay triggering Article 50 would anger the British public.
The High Court ruled that the government needs parliament’s backing to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, the formal step needed to start the process of exiting the bloc.
“The most fundamental rule of the UK’s constitution is that parliament is sovereign,” said Lord Chief Justice John Thomas, England’s most senior judge.
Thomas and two other senior judges did not spell out whether the government would need to pass a new law to begin the divorce proceedings, but Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis said this was likely if the Supreme Court upheld the decision.
“The judges have laid out what we can’t do and not exactly what we can do, but we’re presuming it requires an act of parliament,” Davis told BBC TV.
Parliament could in theory block Brexit as most lawmakers (MPs) supported staying in the EU in a referendum in June. But few people expect that outcome, and a Reuters survey last month suggested MPs would back Brexit now.
The High Court rejected that argument and the judges granted the government permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, Britain’s highest judicial body, which has set aside Dec. 5-8 to deal with the matter.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said his party respected the outcome of the referendum but the government’s negotiating strategy needed parliamentary scrutiny.
Dominic Grieve, lawmaker from May’s ruling Conservatives and a former British attorney general, said passing legislation to trigger Article 50 need not delay the process.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean that it would hold it up for a very long time,” he told BBC TV.
Investment manager Gina Miller, the lead claimant in the legal challenge, said the case was about “process, not politics” and rejected accusations from opponents, including May herself, that they were subverting democracy.
“One of the big arguments (in the referendum) was parliamentary sovereignty,” she told reporters. “So you can’t on the day you get back sovereignty decide you’re going to sidestep or throw it away.”