Thursday 3 November 2016 12:08 pm

How Westminster reacted to the High Court's Article 50 ruling

A High Court judgement that MPs must vote on Brexit before Article 50 can be triggered has caused quite the stir. 

Not least among currency traders, with the pound breaking the $1.24 mark for the first time in weeks.

Read more: The odds on another EU referendum have halved

The government said: "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. We will appeal this judgment."  

But the while the City showed its teeth, Westminster went berserk. Here's how politicians reacted:

1. Arron Banks: "Dirty tricks"

Arron Banks, co-chairman of the Leave.EU campaign:

Parliament voted six-to-one in favour of letting the people decide. They didn't get the answer they wanted, and now they're going to use every dirty trick in the book to try to sabotage, delay or water down Brexit.

It's no surprise that the legal establishment has joined the political class in declaring war on British democracy. Why wouldn't unelected judges want to preserve an EU system where unelected elites like themselves are all-powerful?

2. Jeremy Corbyn: "Labour respects the decision of the British people"

Labour leader Corbyn: 

This ruling underlines the need for the Government to bring its negotiating terms to parliament without delay. Labour respects the decision of the British people to leave the European Union. But there must be transparency and accountability to parliament on the terms of Brexit.

Labour will be pressing the case for a Brexit that works for Britain, putting jobs, living standards and the economy first.

3. Nigel Farage: "A betrayal may be near at hand"

Former Ukip leader Farage: 

I worry that a betrayal may be near at hand. Last night at the Spectator Parliamentary Awards I had a distinct feeling that our political class, who were out in force, do not accept the 23rd of June referendum result.

I now fear that every attempt will be made to block or delay the triggering of Article 50. If this is so, they have no idea of the level of public anger they will provoke.

4. Policy Exchange: "A bad mistake"

Professor Richard Ekins, head of the judicial power project at Policy Exchange:

The High Court has made a bad mistake. It has wrongly lent its authority to a claim that undermines both democratic self-government and the rule of law. The basic point of this litigation has not been to defend parliamentary democracy. Rather, the aim has been to introduce a new stumbling block to Brexit by providing sympathetic MPs and peers with an opportunity to frustrate the referendum result. The government is right to appeal and the Supreme Court should promptly overturn the High Court's dubious decision.

5. Tim Farron

The Lib Dem leader welcomed the news.

It is disappointing that the government was so intent on undermining parliamentary soverignty and democratic process that they forced this decision to be made in the court, but I welcome the news today that MPs will get to vote on the triggering of Article 50.

Ultimately, the British people voted for a departure and not a destination, which is why what really matters if allowing them to vote again on the final deal, giving them the chance to say no to an irresponsible hard Brexit that risks our economy and jobs.


6. Nick Clegg

‚ÄčThe former deputy prime minister weighs in.

In an intelligent political world the government would have made this decision, not a court. We now need a coherent Brexit plan that works for all.


7. Liam Fox

The international trade secretary

The government is disappointed by the court’s judgement. The country voted to leave the European Union in a referendum approved by Act of Parliament. The government is determined to respect the result of the referendum. This judgement raises complex and important matters of law and it’s right we consider it carefully before deciding how to proceed.


8. Iain Duncan Smith

Former work and pensions secretary, who campaigned for leave

This was lengthy and complex judgment which the attorney general is currently studying, but I can confirm to the house Mr Speaker that it is the government’s intention to appeal against today’s judgment of the High Court. We are, as the House is aware, now in a situation in which we have this judgment today and a very little while ago a judgment from the High Court in Northern Ireland which came to a completely different decision on the same subject.

It is the government’s intention, in the light of those two judgments to offer an oral statement next Monday, so that subject to the usual requirements on sub judice, ministers can be questioned by members of the House.


9. Dominic Raab

Tory MP and Brexit campaigner

On 23 June the British people gave a clear mandate for the UK Government to leave the EU and take back control of our borders, laws, money and trade. It is disappointing that today the court has chosen to ignore their decision.

This case is a plain attempt to block Brexit by people who are out of touch with the country and refuse to accept the result. However, the vote to leave the EU was clear and they should not seek to obstruct it.

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