Theresa May was last night heading for a clash with MPs over her Brexit plan after the High Court ruled she must consult them over Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Theresa May is heading for a clash with MPs over her Brexit plan after the High Court ruled she must consult them over Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Downing Street insisted the Prime Minister would not reveal her negotiating hand despite the court ruling, described as one of the most significant in British history.
The decision was hailed by Brexit select committee chairman and Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn as “an important judgement on the sovereignty of Parliament”.
But Brexiteers have expressed concerns that MPs and peers could attempt to derail the Brexit process.
Responding to today’s High Court ruling, Mr Benn Hilary Benn described the judgment as “very significant”.
“I think it’s right and proper that the Government should come to the House of Commons to tell us what it is going to be looking for in these very important negotiations that will start next year,” he said,
But he stressed that politicians were not being given a say over whether to leave the EU, stating: “That choice has been made by the British people.”
The High Court challenge – heralded as one of the most significant in generations – was brought by the investor and anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller.
Judges ruled in Ms Miller’s favour, concluding the Prime Minister does not have the power to trigger Article 50 without Parliamentary authorisation.
The decision was condemned by the Ukip MEP Mike Hookem, who described it as as attempt to “put roadblocks in the path of democracy”.
He urged all MPs to “put the will of their constituents before their own views” and publically declare their intetion to honour the referendum result.
But the Labour MP Barry Sheerman celebrated the judgement, telling the Yorkshire Post it was “a good day for Parliamentary democracy”. He went on to suggest the public mood toward Brexit was “changing”, and it was up to politicians to respond.
“I think there is going to be a long hard winter, and by the time we get through to the spring there’s going to be a very different attitude,” he said.
“If there is a mood in the country for another think about this, then Parliament should lead the way.”
The Prime Minister’s critics have suggested the ruling could force Downing Street to clarify plans for negotiations before making moves to begin the formal Brexit process.
There is also speculation as to whether the need for a Parliamentary vote will push the Government’s deadline for triggering Article 50 beyond its April deadline.
But her official spokeswoman has rejected the idea of “setting out all your cards on the table ahead of the negotiation”.
“We’ve also been clear that we have no intention of letting this derail our timetable in getting on with triggering Article 50,” she added.
“We will appeal the judgment at the Supreme Court.”