Speed Reads


Britain's Supreme Court rules that Parliament must approve Brexit trigger

On Tuesday, Britain's Supreme Court ruled 8-3 that Prime Minister Theresa May cannot start the process of pulling the U.K. out of the European Union without an act of Parliament, putting a speed bump in May's plans to invoke Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty by March. The Supreme Court, the highest court in England and Wales, agreed with a lower court that May can't use executive powers called the royal prerogative to trigger Brexit because it would affect the rights of Britons conferred by Parliament in 1972 in order to join the European Union.

It is not yet clear what kind of legislation May's government will introduce to get Parliament's assent, or whether Brexit skeptics will be able to wrest concessions in the process, but May is expected to gain approval in both the House of Commons and, despite more resistance, the House of Lords. The Supreme Court unanimously decided that May does not need to consult regional governments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, which would have proved a bigger obstacle.

May has one more court she could appeal the ruling to, the EU's highest court, the European Court of Justice, but she won't do that, the BBC reports. First, that would just delay her Brexit strategy, and more importantly, her "government has made great play of the fact that, by leaving the EU, it will end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice over the U.K. and restore the supremacy of British courts."