UK Government to challenge Scots court ruling that could block Brexit

Written by Gemma Fraser on 19 October 2018 in News

If the European Court of Justice rules Parliament can revoke Article 50 without the permission of the other EU states, it could see MPs stopping Brexit.

Image credit: PA

THE UK Government was today set to challenge a judgement made by Scotland’s highest court over giving MPs power to block Brexit.

The Advocate General for Scotland’s office will ask the Court of Session for leave to appeal a decision made by Scotland’s most senior judge after Scottish politicians were given permission for an authoritative ruling from Europe’s highest court on whether MPs can halt Brexit by revoking the Article 50 withdrawal process.

The Lord President, Lord Carloway, said the idea – which was dismissed by UK government lawyers as “hypothetical and academic” - should be referred as a matter of urgency to the European Court of Justice before Westminster votes on a final Brexit deal.

If the ECJ rules Parliament can revoke Article 50 without the permission of the other 27 EU states, it could in theory result in MPs stopping Brexit.

A one-day hearing at the ECJ in Luxembourg has now been scheduled to take place next month.

The UK Government will today ask the Court of Session to reconsider and refer the case to the UK Supreme Court on appeal, with the aim of recalling the ECJ reference.

A number of Scottish politicians have led the charge to seek a decision from the ECJ, including Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, Labour MEPs Catherine Stihler and David Martin, SNP MEP Alyn Smith, SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC and Scottish Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine.

Wightman told the Herald: “The reference [to the ECJ] has already been made. I don’t know why the UK government is wasting more time and money opposing a fairly resounding decision of the Inner House.”

Jolyon Maugham QC, whose campaign group the Good Law Project has helped coordinate the politicians’ case, said the UK Government’s arguments were “hopeless”.

He said: “The Government is scared witless at the thought of MPs and the public learning we was still Remain. If Theresa May can’t get her Brexit through Parliament we need a People’s Vote because she doesn’t have a mandate for driving the country off a cliff.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: "We were disappointed by the decision of the Court of Session and are seeking to appeal it in the Supreme Court.

“But it remains a matter of firm policy that we will not be revoking the Article 50 notice, and we will not comment further on ongoing litigation."

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