(GPA) London – The U.K.’s highest court has ruled parliament must vote on the Brexit referendum, leading many to question if it will actually happen.
Yesterday the U.K. High Court said in a ruling that any decision on Brexit must first pass through the Houses of Parliament. The decision was based on a rule in the U.K.’s constitution that parliament is a sovereign institution and the Prime Minister Theresa May cannot negotiate Brexit terms without their approval. The court stated that it was parliament that passed the agreement to join the European Union (EU) initially, therefore parliament must make the decision to invoke Article 50 which allows member states to exit.
A Conservative Party spokesperson said the government would appeal the decision and a hearing on the matter is expected before the court early next month. Further, Theresa May’s administration has “no intention of letting this derail our timetable” of beginning the Brexit talks by the end of March.
The referendum to leave the EU was passed by an incredibly narrow margin with around 52% in favor of leaving and 48% voting to stay. Nigel Farage – the interim leader of the U.K. Independence Party (Ukip) and one of the chief proponents of Brexit – warned that just the act of parliament stalling on passing the referendum could trigger a massive public outrage.
Many large business and financial leaders are however, happy with the ruling after struggling to deal with the negative economic impacts as a result of the referendum vote. The British Pound (£) initially fell to a 31 year low (and an all time low against the Euro) following the referendum. Now with the announcement of the High Court’s decision – coupled with an announcement by the Bank of England (BOE) to not cut interest rates – the pound has seen a much needed resurgence.
It is still unclear that if the parliament votes on the matter, whether it will just delay Brexit or halt it altogether. Should it continue to go through there are already contingency plans in some industries and among major banks to remove their headquarters from the U.K. Some citizens of the U.K. have also voiced remorse for voting to leave the EU and may hope parliament can reverse their decision.
For now the businesses and citizens of the U.K. will just have to wait until the court hearing in December to see what the next phase of Brexit is. A decision to remain may be popular among Britain’s political and financial establishment but could further the expansion of their citizens’ populist anger in the future.