Britain’s Supreme Court has ruled that the UK government must hold a vote in parliament before beginning the process of leaving the European Union.
The decision is a complication for Prime Minister Theresa May, who wanted to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the legal mechanism that begins the process of leaving the EU, by the end of March. Doing so would open the door for EU negotiations, which are likely to last two years.
The Supreme Court judges voted eight to three against the government, upholding a November High Court decision. The judges, who deliberated the case over four days in December, said that the legal consequences of leaving the EU were great enough to require an act of parliament to start the process.
But the court decided that the UK government did not need the approval of devolved governments in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to begin the negotiating process.
- Judges voted 8 to 3 against the government
- Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland legislatures won’t get a veto
- Government will introduce bill ‘within days’
- This was a hard fought campaign for Gina Miller, during which she received death threats and rape threats.
- The Liberal Democrats, said the party would vote against the triggering of Article 50 unless the government promised a referendum on the terms of the final exit deal with the EU.
- But Labour has made it clear that it would not ultimately stand in May’s way, meaning the government is likely to win the eventual vote on Article 50.