Court ruling on Brexit branded a ‘positive step’… and a ‘betrayal’
The case was brought by investment manager Gina Miller.
Remainers have welcomed the High Court ruling that Parliament must vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the European Union, while leading Brexiteers have been left fuming.
The ruling means the government cannot trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty without a Commons vote, As Theresa May had intended.
Investment manager Gina Miller, who brought the case, said outside the High Court: "The result today is about all of us. It's not about me or my team. It's about our United Kingdom and all our futures."
The government is appealing, with a further hearing expected next month.
Open Britain supporter Pat McFadden said:
“This is a positive step but it needs to be more than just a symbolic act. It was always wrong for the Government to try to stop Parliament having a meaningful say in how the UK leaves the EU. There is a mandate to leave the EU but there is no mandate for a hard, destructive Brexit. The terms on which we leave should be subject to rigorous debate and scrutiny - in Parliament and the country.
“A role for Parliament in the triggering of Article 50 is welcome. But Parliament should have a clear role in the substance of the Brexit negotiations, not just the process.
“Open Britain is calling on the Government to bring forward their substantive plans for the negotiations - in the equivalent of a White Paper - to be debated and voted on in Parliament before Article 50 is triggered.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said:
"This ruling underlines the need for the Government to bring its negotiating terms to parliament without delay. Labour respects the decision of the British people to leave the European Union. But there must be transparency and accountability to parliament on the terms of Brexit. Labour will be pressing the case for a Brexit that works for Britain, putting jobs, living standards and the economy first."
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said:
“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.
“Given the strict two year timetable of exiting the EU once Article 50 is triggered, it is critical that the government now lay out their negotiating to Parliament, before such a vote is held... Ultimately, the British people voted for a departure but not for a destination, which is why what really matters is allowing them to vote again on the final deal, giving them the chance to say no to an irresponsible hard Brexit that risks our economy and our jobs.”
And Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“The High Court’s judgment is not a surprise to anyone who has been following this case, and the UK government should now accept this decision rather than take it to the UK Supreme Court. That the UK government is now in the position where the court has ruled against it and is insisting that parliament must vote before article 50 can be triggered underlines the chaos and confusion at the heart of the Tories’ handling of Brexit.
“Let’s be clear – the prime minister has not tried to avoid parliament because of constitutional principles but because any vote in parliament would expose the complete lack of a plan for what Brexit means. In whatever eventually comes forward from the UK government to parliament, SNP MPs will not vote in any way that would undermine Scotland’s interests.”
Brexiteers go beserk*
Outgoing Ukip leader Nigel Farage said:
“I worry that a betrayal may be near at hand. I now fear that every attempt will be made to block or delay the triggering of Article 50. If this is so, they have no idea of the level of public anger they will provoke.”
International trade secretary Liam Fox said:
“The government is disappointed by the court’s judgement. The country voted to leave the European Union in a referendum approved by an Act of Parliament. The government is determined to respect the result of the referendum.”
Leave Means Leave co-chair Richard Tice fumed:
“This is disgraceful – 17.4m people will be furious today. Our democracy is being damaged by an elite band of people in the legal system…
“The question was put to the British people and they voted to leave the EU. British business has reacted well to the Brexit vote and it is essential that the process of leaving the EU begins as soon as possible to ensure confidence in the British economy continues. A vote in Parliament is wholly unnecessary, time consuming and betrays the democratic will of the people.”
And Ukip donor Arron Banks tweeted:
"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less..."
But not for the first time, Vote Leave campaign director Dominic Cummings took a different view. He said on Twitter that people such as Farage and Banks were "babbling nonsense" and that the Article 50 court ruling was reasonable.
*Some of them.
Picture by: Tim Ireland/AP/Press Association Images