The UK Supreme Court has ruled that the government needs approval from the Parliament before proceeding with its Brexit plans, rejecting an appeal by Prime Minister Theresa May who had argued otherwise.
The court’s Tuesday ruling means that May should wait for the Parliament’s green light before invoking the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the first step in taking the UK out of the European Union (EU).
This undermines the outcome of last year’s historic EU referendum, where nearly 52 percent of Britons voted to end their country’s decades-long membership in the 28-nation bloc.
The ruling follows a similar decision by the UK High Court in November, where three senior judges ruled that the parliament, not the government alone, can trigger Article 50.
May appealed that decision, saying the lawmakers who oppose the outcome of the referendum “need to accept what the people decided.”
The MPs have indicated in the past that they would give the go-ahead to May before the end of March, May’s deadline to begin the negotiations with the EU.
The Supreme Court’s conclusion came days after May laid out her plans for a “clean” Brexit on January 17 and said she would ask for the Parliament’s approval after reaching an agreement with the EU.
She says the process would take at least two years.
The premier threatened to walk away from a “punitive” deal with the EU and use low corporate taxes to attract business and investment from around the world.
May’s plans were met by strong criticism from the head of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, who attacked her for proposing a “bargain basement” plan.
The opposition leader said the PM’s threat of turning Britain into a “low-pay tax haven on the shores of Europe” was “demeaning.”
By Africafrique and agencies