Brexit: Weekly Update

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Posted on November 4, 2016

Another Front for Theresa May. Parliament.
In an unexpected development, the UK High Court has ruled that Theresa May cannot bypass Parliament to trigger Article 50, which would begin the negotiations for Britain’s exit from the European Union. In essence, Parliament must trigger Brexit, not the Prime Minister. While the Government is almost certain to appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court, initial legal opinion is that the judgement is clear, with little leeway for the Supreme Court to counter.
Many in Parliament will see this as a victory. MPs have been griping about their position of being sidelined on strategy or policy for Brexit, if indeed there is one, so this could well be their opportunity to have their say. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the Government will have to accept that this is likely to delay triggering Article 50, which has of course, incensed the Brexiters who have said that the judiciary should have no involvement over the will of the people. The alternate view is that this is a UK court ruling on UK law for UK people, which could of course be in sync with what the Leavers want.

All that is certain, yet again, is continued uncertainty. If Brexit will be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny, the whole Brexit process will be drawn out. Pressure will be put on MPs who must a) consider the wishes of their riding and their own position and b) the national interest which some would contend was clear from the Referendum result. Some MPs are already threatening that, should Remain MPs try and block Brexit, the Government should call a general election. But there are risks here as well, particularly with the devolved administrations who voted to remain. Further, the polls indicate more than enough Leavers have changed their minds for the UK to remain should a second referendum be run. UK bookies say the electorate is ‘in turmoil’. So at the end of the day, there is more uncertainty for the country as a result of today’s decision and another front on which to fight for the Prime Minister. Not how she would have liked this week to end.

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