Article 50 and May’s mishandling of democracy
The High Court ruled that the Prime Minister cannot give notice of intention to withdraw from the European Union (“activate Article 50”) without reference to Parliament.
Social media has exploded and the right wing press have gone mad with comment about this. A lot of it is inaccurate and gets wrong why the court had ruled as it has and what are the practical implications of the ruling, which will be appealed to the Supreme Court in December.
This ruling is not about stopping Brexit, it is about the British Parliament debating the government’s exit position.
To embark on Article 50 without parliamentary consensus, and with a confused government position, would have been disastrous for this country’s interests.
The High Court ruling is based on the key constitutional principle that parliament only decides UK domestic law. By invoking Article 50 via royal prerogative, the government would have been ending all the rights for British citizens inherent in the 1972 European Communities Act.
That is not pedantic hair-splitting. It is big stuff. The sort of stuff which, in the past, led to a king losing his head and the country being riven by a bloody civil war.
Tim Farron commented, “It is disappointing that this government was so intent on undermining Parliamentary sovereignty and democratic process that they forced this decision to be made in the court, but I welcome the news today that MPs will get to vote on the triggering of Article 50.
…So far May’s team have been all over the place when it comes to prioritising what is best for Britain, and it’s time they pull their socks up and start taking this seriously.”