The English court that is going to decide on whether or not British Prime Minister Theresa May can trigger Article 50 is going to rule this Thursday. So, the Brexit legal challenge is going to have a finality. The legal proceedings could stymie the plans of the UK government to exit the European Union. After a majority voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, the UK is on course to break free from the EU. The plan is for the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50, the formal mechanism that starts a two year process of negotiations. But the Brexit legal challenge asked whether or not the Prime Minister can do that without Parliament signing off on it first.
The Prime Minister Might Need the Approval of Parliament
The Brexit legal challenge is a complex legal case. It raises the question of whether the Prime Minister can act on her own to notify Brussels that the UK wishes to leave the European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May had already announced that the Brexit process is going to start in March of 2017.
Voting in a referendum seemed fairly straightforward. But leaving the European Union is easier said than done. The road ahead for the UK is as much as two years of exit negotiations. The talks between the EU and the UK will cover issues like access to the single market, mobility and many more. Some are eager for the UK to leave the European Union as quickly and as swiftly as possible. They have criticized Prime Minister Theresa May for not setting a clear schedule for the Brexit. But as this legal challenge shows, the Prime Minister might not even have the prerogative to trigger the Brexit.
The decision of the English court could require the Prime Minister to get an approval from Parliament for the UK to leave the European Union. If a majority opposes the Brexit, that could, at least in theory, delay the process. It might even stop it. But that is unlikely to happen. The Prime Minister’s party, the Conservative Party is the largest in Parliament. The Tories have a 15 seat majority that could easily handle a vote on the Brexit.
However, the Parliament voting on the Brexit would give the body some leverage when it comes to the course that the Brexit is going to take. Prime Minister Theresa May would have to acknowledge the input of members of Parliament.
Supreme Court Ready to act as an Arbiter
The Brexit legal challenge was brought to the attention of the court by a group of concerned British citizens. They had help from some of the country’s top constitutional lawyers. Both sides are probably going to appeal if the court rules against them. As such, the Supreme Court is on standby and is ready for an expedited hearing no later than early next month.
The case complicates matters for Prime Minister Theresa May. If the court case is a success, she will have to deal with Parliament as well. Members of Parliament that have a more pro-EU attitude could steer negotiations towards a “softer” exit.
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