By: David Tuchman
The English High Court on Thursday ruled that Parliament must vote on whether the UK can begin the process of breaking apart from the EU.
This means the British government on its own cannot trigger formal exit negotiations with the EU (also called article 50 of the Libson treaty) without the consent of MPs, most of whom voted against Brexit.
As a result, the pound, which dipped in value significantly since the initial vote to leave the EU, shot up rising 1.1 per cent following the verdict.
Politicians who led the Leave campaign were lashing out at the UK government following the controversial ruling.
Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party and who became the face of the leave campaign, condemned the ruling saying he that he feared that the deal to leave will be watered down and not what the British people voted for.
I now fear every attempt will be made to block or delay triggering Article 50. They have no idea level of public anger they will provoke.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) November 3, 2016
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn echoed similar sentiments in a statement made Thursday.
“This ruling underlines the need for the Government to bring its negotiating terms to parliament without delay. Labour [party] respects the decision of the British people to leave the European Union,” he said.
“But there must be transparency and accountability to parliament on the terms of Brexit.”
Gina Miller, a London-based investment manager and lead claimant who spearheaded the court challenge that led to Thursday’s verdict, said in a statement that the ruling is not about politics.
“The result today is about all of us, it’s not about me or my team. It’s about our United Kingdom and all out futures. It’s not about how anyone voted,” she said.
“Every one of us voted for the best country and the best future. This case was about process not politics.”
The government said it would challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court, with a further hearing expected next month.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will launch exit negotiations with the EU by March 31 next year.
In a referendum watched around the world last June 24, 51.9 per cent of UK residents voted in favour of leaving the European Union and 48.1 per cent voted in favour of remaining a member of the European Union.
Immigration was a big concern for people who voted Leave in the Brexit referendum.
Fears arose over “an influx of migrants from outside the EU free-travel zone, from countries like India and Pakistan, but also from economically deprived countries of eastern Europe that were formerly part of the communist-controlled Eastern Bloc,” CBC reported in June.
Currently, there 28 nations within the European Union.
Right after the vote, the foreign ministers of the EU’s six founding members, in a statement urged the British government to move forward “as soon as possible” with enacting article 50 so that the remaining 27 nations can concentrate on making the EU stronger for the future.
“It is in the interest of Britain and in the interest of Europeans not to have a period of uncertainty that would have financial consequences and that could have economic and political consequences,” France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was quoted in a Wall Street Journal report.