Implementing a Brexit Strategy
On November 3, 2016, the British High Court halted an expedited withdrawal of the UK from the European Union. The High Court ruled in favor of Parliament having a say prior to the invocation of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. In its ruling, the High Court stated that MPs must vote on the right of the UK to begin the EU withdrawal process. After the High Court’s ruling, the UK government announced that it would appeal to the Supreme Court. The appeal against the High Court’s decision will take place on December 5th in the Supreme Court. Once invoked, Article 50 will allow for formal withdrawal talks for up to two years. British Prime Minister Theresa May believes that talks will commence by the end of March 2017.
Other UK member states such as Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have voiced their opinions. The Scottish government continues to pressure the Holyrood Parliament for its right to a binding vote on Article 50. Moreover, the Scottish government will seek to oppose the UK government to push for its involvement in a decision. Scotland’s most senior law officer, the Lord Advocate, will apply to be heard during the appeal to the Supreme Court. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, believes that the Scottish Parliament and other devolved parliaments of the UK should be consulted before the triggering of Article 50. Ms.Sturgeon seeks not to veto the process of England and Wales leaving the EU, but states that, “[the] democratic wishes of the people of Scotland and the national parliament of Scotland cannot be brushed aside […].”
The Welsh government also plans to intervene in the appeals process to clarify possible implications from the judgement. Northern Ireland’s leading lawyer forecasts that a separate legal challenge to Brexit will help bypass the standard legal process to take proceedings to the Supreme Court.
The Liberal Democrats along with several MPs from the Labour Party are willing to vote against triggering Article 50. Other minister see MPs voting against Article 50 as a ploy to “re-run” the original referendum to gain a more favorable result. Without the Supreme Court overturning the judgement next month, a bill will be created to invoke Article 50 early next year.