The UK government said it will appeal a decision by the High Court that requires it to obtain UK parliamentary approval before starting the “Article 50” process of leaving the European Union.
“The country voted to leave the European Union in a referendum approved by Act of Parliament,” a government spokesman said.
“The government is determined to respect the result of the referendum. We will appeal this judgment.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the High Court ruling was “hugely significant” and that it underlined the “total chaos and confusion” at the heart of the UK government.
Scotland voted in favour of remaining in the EU by 62% to 38% — but the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU by 51.9% to 48.1%.
“The most fundamental rule of the UK’s constitution is that parliament is sovereign and can make and unmake any law it chooses,” said Lord Chief Justice John Thomas.
The court ruled that the UK government could not trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty — a process required to start the process of leaving the EU — without approval from the UK parliament.
“The court does not accept the argument put forward by the government,” Thomas said.
“We decide that the government does not have power … to give notice pursuant to Article 50 for the UK to withdraw from the European Union.”
Thomas and two other judges also gave the UK government the opportunity to appeal to the Supreme Court, the UK’s highest judicial body, which has put aside December 5 to December 8 to deal with the appeal.
Fund manager Gina Miller, the lead claimant behind the legal challenge, said” “One of the big arguments was parliamentary sovereignty … so you can’t on the day you get back sovereignty decide you’re going to sidestep or throw it away.”