THE high court has ruled that only parliament has the authority to trigger Article 50 and inform Brussels that the UK intends to leave the EU.
Delivering the judgement, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd said that “the most fundamental rule of the UK constitution is that parliament is sovereign”.
Although subject to appeal at the supreme court, the decision is a blow to Theresa May contradicting her insistence that the referendum result instilled the executive with the power to trigger Article 50.
The case came before the courts courtesy of a legal challenge from citizens who argued that undermining parliamentary sovereignty in such an important situation would breach their legal rights.
If the supreme court agrees with the judges then MPs will effectively be required to vote on Brexit, with no formal necessity that they follow the referendum’s plurality vote.
The majority of MPs are believed to be firmly against Brexit but defying the result would be hugely controversial and could spark a constitutional crisis.
That poses no problem for the markets. Within seconds of the judgement sterling rose dramatically.