The Supreme Court, the UK’s highest court, has ruled by a majority of 8 to 3 (in a full sitting of all 11 Justices) that the British prime minister, Theresa May, cannot use royal prerogative to trigger Article 50 and the government must hold a parliamentary vote before starting the UK’s two-year exit from the EU. Lord Neuberger, president of the Supreme Court, also ruled that on devolution issues, UK ministers are not legally compelled to consult the devolved governments before triggering Article 50.
HM Government had appealed to the Supreme Court hoping to overturn the successful legal case brought by businesswoman Gina Miller who had argued that Parliament should not be bypassed in triggering Article 50. The British pound initially rose as the latest ruling was announced but fell back in reaction to the court’s decision that the devolved governments would have no say. The Scottish National Party has made clear that it will contest the Article 50 process at Westminster, vowing to put forward 50 “serious and substantive” amendments. Meanwhile, Labour peers have specified that they will not try to delay the bill in the House of Lords and party leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he expects Labour MPs to support Article 50 and uphold the EU referendum result.