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04 November 2016 - High Court rules that Brexit requires vote by Parliament

Publié par Marion Coste le 11/04/2016
The Guardian view on article 50 ruling: parliament is the winner
Editorial (The Guardian, 04/11/2016)

The high court’s ruling that the government needs parliament’s approval before invoking article 50 has provoked roars of predictable outrage from the Brexit camp. Cries of “betrayal” and “a war on democracy” swamp Twitter, in a way that suggests that those who campaigned in the name of sovereignty are remarkably reluctant to accept what that sovereignty means. Now the high court has issued a short and forceful corrective that, for the sake of clarity, can be summarised like this: because parliament is sovereign, unrestrained executive power can only be used in matters where parliament has no say. Parliamentary sovereignty means that primary legislation, like the act that subordinated some UK law to Europe’s in 1972, cannot be overturned just on the government’s say so. Therefore the government cannot invoke article 50 without parliament’s authority.

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Front pages

Newspaper review: Brexit court ruling dominates press
Nigel Pankhurst (BBC News, 04/11/2016)
The High Court ruling that the formal process of Britain leaving the EU must have parliamentary approval dominates the pages of Friday's newspapers.
As the Times reports: "In a case brought by Gina Miller, an investment manager, three judges cleared the way for a Commons vote to trigger Article 50, the mechanism allowing Britain to leave the EU.
"The government said that it would appeal."

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Relevance of the referendum

British court rules that Brexit requires vote by Parliament
Ilya Somin (The Washington Post, 03/11/2016)
Earlier today, Britain’s High Court ruled that the British government cannot initiate the process of leaving the European Union without getting authorization from Parliament. The Lord Chief Justice concluded that the government cannot leave the EU based on the results of the Brexit referendum alone because doing so would be “contrary to fundamental constitutional principles of the sovereignty of parliament.”
The government plans to appeal the decision to Britain’s Supreme Court. If the appeal fails, they will indeed have to get a parliamentary vote before initiating Brexit. It is unlikely that Parliament would block Brexit outright. But as economist Tyler Cowen points out, the process of parliamentary approval could potentially delay Brexit long enough to undermine it.
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Governing on behalf of all the people

Attempts by the Government to fight the High Court’s decision will only worsen rifts over Brexit
Editorial (The Independent, 03/11/2016)
If the High Court’s ruling on the need for Parliament to be involved in triggering Article 50 proves anything, it is that many of Brexit’s most ardent supporters do not understand irony. Two of their great cries during the referendum campaign concerned the need to stop European judges meddling in British affairs and a desire to restore the sovereignty of this country’s Parliament. Yet now they cry foul at a ruling by judges in London which does little more than to assert the primacy of Britain’s Parliament over the prerogative powers of the Government (in this case one headed by a Prime Minister whose leadership has never been put to the country). It’s funny how things turn out.
Before he thought better of the whole adventure, David Cameron had indicated that he would – in the event of a vote to leave the EU – trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty immediately. With hindsight, it now seems remarkable that the question of how the Article 50 process could lawfully be initiated was not asked prior to the referendum. Perhaps it shows how strong was the misplaced confidence of the Remain camp. Equally, the High Court’s ruling today exposes the similarly overconfident (perhaps even arrogant) approach of Theresa May during recent months. For, when examined in the cold light of day, the judgment appears eminently sound.
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"04 November 2016 - High Court rules that Brexit requires vote by Parliament", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), avril 2016. Consulté le 21/10/2021. URL: http://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2016/04-november-2016-high-court-rules-that-brexit-requires-vote-by-parliament