A majority of judges at the Supreme Court have upheld a High Court decision that peers and MPs must authorise the use of Article 50.
The bombshell ruling threatens to derail the Brexit process because Europhile MPs and peers will try to block the use of Article 50 during votes in Parliament.
Gina Miller has won a Brexit challenge that MPs and peers must vote on Article 50
What is Article 50?
Before the EU referendum, only a few people knew about the short legal clause which is set out in the Lisbon Treaty.
But Article 50 has now turned into a key battleground for Brexit supporters and Remainers in the House of Commons and the Lords.
If Parliament does not approve the use of Article 50 then the UK cannot begin the all-important EU exit talks this year.
This is seen as only a remote possibility because politicians have a duty to respect the will of the people as expressed in the EU referendum.
A majority of Supreme Court judges have ruled that Theresa May cannot trigger Article 50 alone
But pro-EU MPs and peers could seize on the opportunity to delay the process and put conditions on what the final Brexit deal should look like.
In order to quit the EU, Britain has to tell the European Council that it wants to go by invoking Article 50 of the EU rulebook for the first time in history.
Article 50, of the Lisbon Treaty, is the legal mechanism for the withdrawal of a member state from the EU.
The use of Article 50 will start the timer on a two-year process of exit talks over Britain’s political divorce from the 28-member bloc.
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At the end of the two-year period, Britain will be expelled from the EU unless member states unanimously decide to extend the deadline.
Meet the Supreme Court Judges who will get last say on Article 50
Thu, December 1, 2016
These are the Supreme Court Judges who could stop Theresa May triggering Article 50 next week, throwing the UK’s plans to break from the EU into total disarray.
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The Supreme Court Judges.
What does Article 50 say?
This is the text of Article 50:
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention.
In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union…
It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification… unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
4. [T]he member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it…
5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.”