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