Here’s how the government, party leaders and leading MPs have reacted to today’s Supreme Court verdict giving MPs the power to authorise, or veto, Britain’s exit from the EU.
A spokesperson for the prime minister said in a statement:
“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. Today’s ruling does nothing to change that.
“It’s important to remember that Parliament backed the referendum by a margin of six to one and has already indicated its support for getting on with the process of exit to the timetable we have set out.
“We respect the Supreme Court’s decision, and will set out our next steps to Parliament shortly.”
The spokesperson also told the Parliamentary press lobby this morning that there would be “no change to our timetable” of triggering Article 50. They also insisted that Article 50, once triggered, will be “irreversible”.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
He tweeted this morning: “Supreme Court has spoken. Now Parliament must deliver will of the people — we will trigger A50 by end of March. Forward we go!”
Former minister Iain Duncan Smith
“You’ve got to understand that, of course, there’s the European issue but there’s also the issue about who is Supreme — Parliament or a self-appointed court. This is the issue here right now, so I was intrigued that it was a split judgment, I’m disappointed they have tried to tell Parliament how to run its business…they have stepped into new territory where they have actually told Parliament not just that they should do something but actually what they should do and I think that leads further down the road to real constitutional issues about who is supreme in this role.”
Former Culture Secretary and chair of the Culture Committee John Whittingdale
“I think there is a frustration amongst people who voted Leave that nine months on we haven’t made much progress towards it but I’m pleased the Government has made clear we will be triggering Article 50 … I think the timetable can be achieved.”
Former minister Dominic Raab:
“The Government was right to appeal, and the Supreme Court has usefully made clear that a short Bill authorising the start of negotiations is all that is needed. Let’s have an end to the wrecking tactics. Every democrat in Parliament should now support this legislation.”
Conservative MP Chris Philp
“I will be voting to Trigger A50 on the grounds we had a referendum and we must respect the result. I will vote against any amendment that tries to attach conditions at all to the terms of the exit, on the grounds that we cannot tie the government’s hands in the negotiation and on the grounds the referendum question contained no such stipulations. I hope that stance commands support.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:
“The government has today been forced by the Supreme Court to accept the sovereignty of Parliament.
“Labour respects the result of the referendum and the will of the British people and will not frustrate the process for invoking article 50.
“However, Labour will seek to amend the Article 50 bill to prevent the Conservatives using Brexit to turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven off the coast of Europe.
“Labour is demanding a plan from the Government to ensure it is accountable to Parliament throughout the negotiations and a meaningful vote to ensure the final deal is given Parliamentary approval.”
Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer told Sky News:
“We welcome the judgment, of course, because this provides a proper role for Parliament. It’s a bit of a shame it’s taken this long to get that principle established. But it must now be a proper role for Parliament and I think it would be against the spirit of the judgment if the Government tried to introduce a one-clause bill.
“The judgment clearly envisages the normal procedures and that would involve amendments and consideration in both Houses.”
Remain campaigning Labour MP David Lammy:
“It was absolutely absurd for an unelected Prime Minister and her Cabinet to think that they had the power to trigger Article 50 without even consulting our sovereign Parliament.
“The government alone cannot interpret what the referendum result means and where we go from here – they have to bring forward legislation that will be scrutinised and debated by Parliament. It is individual Members of Parliament who are democratically accountable to the electorate at the ballot box and the government must not try to steamroll legislation through Parliament. What happens next will define the future of our country for generations and there is too much at stake.”
Lammy, who has previously called for MPs to vote against Brexit, told Business Insider he would not yet set out how he would vote.
Labour member of the Brexit select committee Hilary Benn told the BBC:
“Parliament intends to be a participant in that process, which is going to be of huge significance to everybody, in this country and not a bystander.
“The basic point is we will be leaving the EU but parliament will ant to have a say on the terms and what our new relationship is going to look like.”
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.
“Other than making clear that this is a decision of the whole United Kingdom, rather than its constituent parts, what we can clearly see is that it will embolden those who rail against the decision of the people. It may give heart to those in the EU, used as they are to ignoring their own people, to attempt to play hard ball in the negotiations.
“But in the end I am convinced that though this skirmish has been lost in the courts, the war will be won.”
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said:
“I welcome today’s judgement. But this court case was never about legal arguments, it was about giving the people a voice, a say, in what happens next.
“This Tory Brexit government are keen to laud the democratic process when it suits them, but will not give the people a voice over the final deal. They seem happy to start with democracy and end in a stitch up.
“The Liberal Democrats are clear, we demand a vote of the people on the final deal and without that we will not vote for Article 50.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says she was disappointed that the Scottish parliament will not have an effective veto on Brexit. She also suggested in a statement that it was “ever clearer” that a second independence referendum was now likely.
Green co-leader Caroline Lucas confirmed, as indicated in our interview with her this week, that she would be voting against Article 50.
“This case is a win for parliamentary democracy, and a blow for those minister who planned to railroad Brexit through without any proper scrutiny.
“The spotlight now falls on MPs — and in particular the Labour Party — to properly scrutinise the Government’s plans and act accordingly. That must mean that Labour rethink the support they have given to triggering article 50 prematurely, and instead join those of us who refuse to be pushed into Theresa May’s artificial Brexit timetable.
“It’s astonishing that Ministers ever thought it was right to trigger Article 50 without a vote in Parliament – and their battle in the courts really does expose a contempt for the democratic process within the Conservative party.
“I will not be capitulating to the Tories over Brexit — and will vote against prematurely triggering Article 50 in the Spring. As the co-leader of a Party which stands for environmental, social and economic justice I will not support a Government offering no assurances to EU nationals living in Britain, threatening to turn this country into a tax haven and planning to throw us off the Brexit cliff edge by ending our membership of the Single Market and Customs Union.”
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