British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday pushed back on calls for a second referendum on Brexit, the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union.
May particularly condemned remarks from former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who said this week a new vote should be considered if "none of the other options work." May accused Blair of "seek[ing] to undermine our negotiations by advocating for a second referendum," arguing "Parliament has a democratic duty to deliver what the British people voted for."
"Brexit is in danger of getting stuck — and that is something that should worry us all," U.K. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd warned Saturday. "If [lawmakers] dig in against the prime minister's deal and then hunker down in their different corners, none with a majority, the country will face serious trouble."
Her comments and similar remarks from other leaders come after Prime Minister Theresa May was unable to exact more concessions for the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union this week.
On Thursday, Britain's High Court ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May doesn't have the power to trigger Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, as she planned to do by March 31, 2017. Instead, the court ruled, Parliament must approve the activation of Article 50 of the E.U. charter, which allows a country to withdraw from the union "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements." May argued that the prime minister can use the royal prerogative to withdraw, after Britons narrowly voted to leave last summer, but the senior judges disagreed, ruling that "the government does not have the power under the Crown's prerogative" to start Brexit talks.
The government is expected to appeal the ruling, the most important constitutional challenge in decades. The royal prerogative, originally and officially held by the Queen, is used by British prime ministers to negotiate treaties, declare war, and do more mundane things like issue passports without votes in Parliament. Using those powers to strip rights from U.K. citizens, as leaving the E.U. would, impinges on Parliament's sovereignty, said the chief justice Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, and "the most fundamental rule of the U.K. constitution is that Parliament is sovereign." The Supreme Court has set aside room for an appeal next month. Peter Weber