David Davis has insisted there is no going back on Brexit
Brexit minister David Davis defiantly vowed to begin forcing through a new law “within days” and give the Government power to set us free from Brussels.
This came after senior judges upheld a legal challenge and ruled that Parliament must vote on the process of leaving the European Union.
“There can be no going back,” EU Exit Secretary Mr Davis declared in an emphatic rebuke to MPs and peers plotting blockading and delaying tactics.
Mr Davis is expected to unveil a “straightforward” Bill tomorrow that will give Prime Minister Theresa May legal power to trigger Article 50, the EU exit clause.
Last year’s historic UK referendum decision to quit was “the point of no return” the minister insisted in his stark warning to diehard Remainers during a dramatic Commons statement.
It came hours after the Supreme Court rejected Mrs May’s argument that she could use the royal prerogative to apply to leave the EU.
Mr Davis said he would have Brexit Bill to unveil within days
The 11 top judges ruled by eight to three that Article 50 of the EU’s rulebook cannot be activated without parliamentary approval.
The Government cannot trigger Article 50 without Parliament
Their decision plunged the Prime Minister into an historic showdown with MPs and peers.
A series of accelerated votes in both Houses of Parliament to fast-track the necessary legislation on to the statute books is expected to begin next week.
Summarising the reasons for the ruling, Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger said: “When the UK withdraws from EU treaties, a source of UK law will be cut off.
BREXIT: Supreme Court Ruling
Tue, January 24, 2017
Britain's most senior judges ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May does not have the power to trigger the formal process Article 50 for the UK's exit from the European Union without Parliament having a say.
1 of 12
Issued by the Supreme Court of (top row, from the left) Lord Neuberger, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Sumption, (bottom row, from the left) Lady Hale, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson and Lord Hodge, who agreed with the majority decision that the Government could not trigger Article 50 without Parliamentary approval.
“Further, certain rights enjoyed by UK citizens will be changed. Therefore, the Government cannot trigger Article 50 without Parliament authorising that course.
“Any change in the law to give effect to the referendum must be made in the only way permitted by the UK constitution – namely by an Act of Parliament.
"To proceed otherwise would be a breach of constitutional principles stretching back centuries.”
Gina Miller defender her actions and welcomed the Supreme Court's decision
The ruling upheld a previous decision by the High Court. Ministers were given some consolation when the judges said the Scottish Government and other devolved assemblies do not have a constitutional right to veto Brexit.
Businesswoman Gina Miller, the lead claimant in the legal challenge to Mrs May’s powers, defended her actions.
She said: “MPs we have elected will now have the opportunity to bring their invaluable experience and expertise to bear in helping the Government select the best course in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.”
David Greene, the lawyer for the other claimant, pro-Brexit hairdresser Deir Dos Santos, said: “The court has decided that rights attaching to our membership of the European Union were given by Parliament and can only be taken away by Parliament.
“This is a victory for democracy and the rule of law.”
A Downing Street spokesman said: “The British people voted to leave the EU, and the Government will deliver on their verdict, triggering Article 50 as planned by the end of March. The ruling does nothing to change that.
“Parliament backed the referendum by six to one and has indicated support for getting on with the process.”
Attorney General Jeremy Wright, who led the Government’s legal fight, added: “The Government will comply with the judgment of the court and do all that is necessary to implement it.”
Paul Nuttall said he was not surprised by the decision but claimed it would make little difference
Taxpayers are expected to pick up a bill of millions of pounds for the case, including legal costs of the campaigners who brought the challenge.
Mr Davis told the Commons that Government lawyers were assessing the 96-page judgment before unveiling a Bill giving the Prime Minister the power to trigger Article 50.
He said: “This will be a straightforward Bill. It is not about whether or not the UK should leave the European Union – that decision has already been made by the people of the UK.
“The purpose of this Bill is simply to give the Government the power to invoke Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the European Union.
“Parliament will rightly scrutinise and debate this legislation. But I trust no one will seek to make it a vehicle for attempts to thwart the will of the people or frustrate or delay the process of exiting the European Union.”
Referring to the referendum verdict, he added: “There can be no going back. The point of no return was passed on June 23.”
Brexit-backing MPs urged the Government to speed the legislation and get on with triggering Article 50.
Senior Tory backbencher Sir Edward Leigh urged Mrs May to threaten a general election to “concentrate the minds” of Labour MPs threatening the process.
Former Tory Cabinet minister John Redwood said a vote against triggering Article 50 was effectively a vote against Parliamentary sovereignty.
Ukip leader Paul Nuttall said: “This decision is hardly a surprise but in the end it will make no real difference.
“The will of the people will be heard and woe betide those politicians or parties that attempt to block, delay, or in any other way subvert that will.”
Ukip donor Arron Banks, chairman of the Leave.EU campaign, said: “This Government wants to be a champion for ordinary people.
“Now May must prove it by driving Brexit through Parliament – 17.4 million voters will be watching.”