Sunday 20 November 2016

Drop Brexit Case Appeal, Leading Tories Urge


Theresa May should abandon an appeal against the court ruling that means MPs must vote on the UK leaving the EU.

Sir Oliver Letwin, former head of the government’s Brexit preparations, and two former law officers said the case should not go to the Supreme Court, reports the BBC.

Instead, they want ministers to bring a bill to Parliament to start the process of Brexit as soon as possible.

The government said it would robustly defend its position at the appeal.

The MPs voiced their concerns after the Supreme Court decided on Friday that the Scottish and Welsh governments should have a say at the appeal hearing in December.

Former minister Sir Oliver, who oversaw a “Brexit Unit” in the Cabinet Office after the referendum, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that the Supreme Court hearing could see ministers’ powers outside Parliament curbed.

He added that one of the advantages of bringing a “fast and tightly timetabled and constrained bill” to Parliament, giving the government the ability to trigger Brexit without any constraints on its negotiating power, was that it avoided “any risk of the Supreme Court deciding to accord the devolved administrations some rights or even some veto powers” over triggering Article 50.

Former Solicitor General Sir Edward Garnier said May should drop the appeal to avoid expense and a row about judges’ powers, while former Attorney General Dominic Grieve said he could not see the point of continuing with the case.

All three said ministers should bring a bill allowing the government to begin leaving the European Union - triggering Article 50 - as soon as possible.

The three MPs all backed the Remain campaign at the June referendum.

They all now support triggering Article 50 before the end of March - the deadline set out by the prime minister.

The High Court ruled in early November that Parliament must vote on whether Article 50 could be invoked.

A final judgment from the Supreme Court is not expected until January.



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