Theresa May was told she must gain the approval of MPs and unelected peers before triggering Article 50, by Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling.
In a majority – eight to three – verdict upholding a High Court decision, the UK’s most senior court this morning dismissed the Government’s appeal against last November’s verdict.
The Government is already believed to have drafted a short parliamentary bill aimed at authorising Brexit negotiations, which MPs could now vote on as early as next week.
Shami Chakrabarti refused to comment on whether Labour would vote down Article 50
I urge my colleagues to wait until they’ve seen this Bill before they draft their amendments
Labour Peer Baroness Chakrabarti refused to comment on a potential Labour betrayal, instead suggesting that the “unelected” Government were not given a “blank cheque” by the referendum to take the country in the direction they pleased.
Speaking to Sky News, she said: “In the end that will be a decision for my colleagues in the House of Commons, because of course, is where ultimately the more important House and where it is all going to start.”
Baroness Chakrabarti then claimed that Labour MPs should take their time preparing their response to Mrs May’s Bill, urging them to ensure the NHS and other public services are defended.
She added: “I would personally urge my colleagues to wait until they’ve seen this Bill before they draft their amendments and before they make final decisions.
“But, we are clear, we are democrats. I personally campaigned to remain, but I respect the outcome of the referendum.
“The referendum did not give this Government, this unelected Government, a blank cheque to take us off to a place that we don’t want to be, and a blank cheque to change the face of Britain at the expense at our public services and our National Health Service and workers’ protection.”
It has been reported that despite initially urging his MPs to vote with the Government, Mr Corbyn may seek to frustrate Brexit again with plans to send Theresa May’s deal back to Brussels.
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The Labour Party leader is planning to table an amendment which would formally require the Government to commit to a second vote on the final terms of any deal before Britain leaves the EU.
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.
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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.
The opposition wants the Government to hold the vote early enough for the deal to be sent back to Brussels so it can be “improved or amended”.
However, former Works and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has slammed the plan, claiming that Labour is trying to undermine the Government’s negotiating position despite the Prime Minister’s call for the country to unite ahead of Britain’s EU divorce.
He said: “The deal is the deal, it’s a take it or leave it option.
“This is a classic weasley game of trying to say something relevant.”
Mr Duncan Smith added: “It is absurd. It is quite clear once they’ve been through all these tortuous negotiations that will be it. It would cause the whole thing to unravel.”