Senior Tories urge Theresa May to drop Brexit appeal case

Francesca Washtell
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Theresa May Leaves For Prime Minister's Questions
The government has said it will "robustly defend" the Brexit appeal (Source: Getty)

Senior Conservative Party members have urged Theresa May to abandon an appeal against the Brexit High Court ruling that means MPs must vote on the UK leaving the EU.

The former head of the government's Brexit unit, Oliver Letwin, and two former justice officers have said the case should not go to the Supreme Court and that ministers should instead bring a bill to parliament to start the process as soon as possible.

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Yesterday, the Supreme Court decided that Scottish and Welsh governments will be allowed to have a say in the four-day appeal that will start on 5 December. A ruling is expected to be delivered in January.

Letwin said the hearing could see ministers' powers outside parliament curbed, he told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, adding that bringing a bill to Parliament avoids the Scottish and Welsh administrations "some rights or even veto powers" over triggering Article 50.

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Former attorney general Dominic Grieve and former solicitor general Edward Garnier also said May should drop the appeal and backed her deadline to trigger Article 50 by the end of March. Letwin, Grieve and Garnier were all Remain campaigners.

A spokesman for the department for exiting the European Union said:

The country voted to leave the European Union in a referendum approved by an Act of Parliament and the government is determined to respect that result.

We will robustly defend our position in the forthcoming appeal. As the prime minister made clear yesterday our work is on track and we remain committed to triggering Article 50 by the end of March next year.

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