“A time-wasting and costly mistake” is how some critics have described the British government’s efforts to trigger Brexit without parliamentary approval.
Gina Miller has become the figurehead of the “People’s Challenge” a crowdfunded group which campaigned for MPs to have a say before Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is invoked.
For her, the legal challenge is not about blocking Brexit but how Britain leaves the EU: “Only parliament can grant rights to the people and only parliament can take them away. No prime minister, no government, can expect to be unanswerable or unchallenged. Parliament alone is sovereign.”
After much anticipation Theresa May finally made clear last week that she’ll be seeking a clean break with Europe with no-strings attached.
But her vision of Britain coming out smelling of roses and being in a more advantageous position failed to convince many of her opponents.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Can I urge her to stop her threat of a bargain basement Brexit. A low pay tax haven on the shores of Europe. It won’t necessarily damage the EU, but it would certainly damage this country, businesses, jobs and public service.”
The government has already said it will be business as usual and that it intends to pursue its original timetable. It will no doubt also be relieved it doesn’t have to get the consent of the devolved assemblies.
What a difference a week makes. Last Tuesday, May was all for presenting parliament with the results of the Brexit talks when she said: “the government will put the final deal that is agreed between the UK and the EU to a vote in both houses of Parliament before it comes into force.”
So while Theresa May can’t leave Europe with the stroke of a pen she has triumphed in the constitutional conflict with Britain’s devolved assemblies.
But Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has once again raised the prospect of an independence vote to ensure Holyrood has an equal say in the country’s future.