The High Court: UK government cannot bypass parliament in setting in motion the Brexit process
Amid the unchartered waters the EU referendum has unleashed, a debate has raged over the respective powers of government, parliament, and the “will of the people” as expressed in the June vote.
The court ruling makes it clear that parliament’s say is paramount.
The decision is definitely a setback – and has even been described as a shattering blow – to the British government’s Brexit plans.
It could jeopardise the timing of the Brexit process, and the government’s control over the nature of the deal being sought from the UK’s divorce from the European Union. In theory, the British parliament could actually block Brexit – most MPs were in favour of remaining in the EU – although this is thought unlikely given the referendum result.
A delay to the process could also have a knock-on effect in the rest of the EU, increasing uncertainty and perhaps disrupting the European Parliamentary elections in 2019.
However the government intends to appeal to the Supreme Court, raising the possibility that the ruling will be overturned