Brexit may not mean Brexit at all: UK.gov loses Article 50 lawsuit

Heavily pro-remain MPs now get a vote on whether Britain will leave EU

EU egg timer, photo via Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock

The British government has lost a legal challenge against invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would be the first step towards Great Britain leaving the European Union.

The judgment in R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the EU was handed down at the High Court on Thursday morning, sending shockwaves rippling through the political establishment and beyond.

"The sole question in this case is whether, as a matter of the constitutional law of the United Kingdom, the Crown – acting through the executive government of the day – is entitled to use its prerogative powers" to invoke Article 50 without consulting Parliament, wrote the Lord Chief Justice.

The conclusion of the 32-page judgment was: "We hold that the Secretary of State does not have power under the Crown's prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 of the TEU for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union."

The implications of the ruling will be far-reaching. Though the government has permission to appeal against the decision to the Supreme Court, the political landscape is now confused and split. Most MPs and other members of the political class voted to remain in the EU in the 23 June referendum, while 52 per cent of the voting population voted to leave.

"This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide," a pamphlet issued by the government at the time said.

It is likely that prices for tech goods and services will rise again following the verdict. Given the decline in the pound against the dollar, which – despite a brief blip when the judgment was handed down – has, broadly, kept sliding, no business is going to miss this golden opportunity to fleece its British customers even more.

Microsoft has announced it will raise its prices by 22 per cent. Dell, HPE, HP Inc, Asus, Lenovo all raised their prices as a result of the leave result in the referendum. Business and consumer demand alike is holding up, however.

The government confirmed it will appeal against the judgment as this story went to press.

The country voted to leave the European Union in a referendum approved by Act of Parliament. And the Government is determined to respect the result of the referendum.

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