Monday, July 04, 2016

STATEMENT: Law firm is taking action to ensure Parliament, not the next PM, triggers Article 50

STATEMENT on Law firm is taking action to ensure Parliament, not the next PM, triggers Article 50 by Professor Thom Brooks, Durham University:

Mischon de Reya issued a statement saying it would be unlawful for the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50 leading the UK to leave the EU

The law firm is correct on the law. Triggering Article 50 would invalidate an Act of Parliament – namely, the European Communities Act 1972. No minister, including the next Prime Minister, can invalidate primary legislation by himself or herself. It is for Parliament to terminate its Act.

Campaigners for Brexit argued that Britain must get its sovereignty back. Legally, Parliament was always sovereign. European laws are only incorporated into British law by an Act of Parliament – it is for Parliament to decide whether to accept – or reject – European laws.

But while this gets the law correct, this still leaves the politics. There is much public confusion about whether the UK is in the EU and what happens next. It may not be well received to learn that the referendum was not binding on Parliament, that Parliament may choose to ignore its result or that it is Parliament to decide several months into the future whether or not to Brexit.

END

For additional comment or interviews, contact Professor Thom Brooks by EMAIL or TELEPHONE (0191 33 44 365).

NOTES

The Electoral Commission quotes Professor Thom Brooks in support of its recommendations to Parliament for the final wording of the EU referendum question and answers.

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