Baroness Hale of Richmond, one of the Supreme Court Judges that is due to hear the government’s appeal following the recent High Court decision that the Prime Minister must seek parliamentary support before triggering article 50, has announced publically that Theresa May could be required to repeal and replace existing legislation before triggering Article 50. In a lecture last week, Lady Hale queried whether an Act of Parliament would be sufficient to enable HM Government to initiate Brexit and said that Ministers may have to replace the 1970s legislation signing the UK up to the European Economic Community. “The argument is that the European Communities Act 1972 grants rights to individuals and others which will be lost if the treaties cease to apply,” she said. “Such a result, it is said, can only be achieved by an Act of Parliament. Another question is whether it would be enough for a simple Act of Parliament to authorise the Government to give notice, or whether it would have to be a replacement for the 1972 Act.” Lady Hale added: “What is meant by the exercise of the executive power of the State? To what extent can it be exercised in a way which may undermine the exercise of the legislative power of the State? We do not have a written constitution to tell us.” Meanwhile, Ministers are preparing a “bombproof” three-line Brexit Bill in case HM Government loses its appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal, set for 5 December 2016.
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