High Court judges give hope to expats in EU member states

Published:  3 Nov at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, Citizenship, England
Britain’s High Court has ruled Brexit cannot be triggered without a parliamentary debate and approval vote.

The controversial judgment, given today by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, will, at worst, slow down the rush to declare Article 50, At best it’s a massive setback for PM Theresa May and her insistence government alone has the right to trigger the EU divorce proceedings.

Lord Thomas said the most fundamental rule in Britain’s constitution is that sovereignty belongs to parliament, not to the government. As expected, an immediate appeal to the Supreme Count was received and granted and is expected to take place some time in December.

The panel of judges hearing the High Court case are treading on constitutionally untested ground, as the term on which the dispute was launched focuses on Article 50 itself. The article states any EU member state may leave ‘according to its own constitutional requirements’ – a phrase which is at best undefined and allows rival interpretations.

The challengers maintained approval and relevant legislation by parliament was essential. as leaving the EU by simply triggering Article 50 would not only deprive millions of Britons of their legal rights but would undermine parliament’s traditional sovereignty.It’s uncertain as to the Supreme Court’s reaction to the arguments which resulted in today’s judgment, but it’s certain the High Court ruling will significantly delay the UK’s anticipated initial moves towards departure from the EU.

Just over a week ago, new chairman of the Commons Brexit committee Hilary Benn said MPs should be able to force changes to ministerial decisions on the progress of Brexit, or even send back plans they consider inadequate. In reply to Benn, May insisted parliament would not be allowed to vote or even to be informed of her exit strategy. Today’s court judgment overturns her comments, at least until and hopefully after the Supreme Court hearing.

Today’s judgement gives a glimmer of hope to Brit expats, retiring, living or working in EU member states. Although the end game can’t as yet be foreseen, MPs are aware that many Leave voters are angry at the campaign’s lies and would be happy to reconsider their votes.

Many who didn’t vote are now realising the economic cost of leaving, and expats who’ve lived overseas for more than 15 years have finally been allowed the right to vote. A second referendum, although unlikely, might well reverse Brexit and allow Brits settled overseas as well as EU citizens in the UK to get on with their lives.
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