The United Kingdom's High Court has ruled that in order for the British government to trigger Article 50, it must receive approval from Parliament. In late June, the U.K. voted in a referendum 52% to 48% to leave the European Union, but does this ruling have the potential to discredit more than 30 million voters?
Prime Minister Theresa May had plans to notify the E.U. of Article 50 before the end of March of next year, which would formally begin the two-year process of leaving the E.U. However, this ruling has almost guaranteed that those goals will not be met in a timely manner. The British government argued that they had the power to trigger Article 50 because of the "royal prerogative," which it has used to exercise executive power on foreign policy issues for centuries. Under the royal prerogative, Parliament is not needed for approval, because Ministers are able to exercise prerogative powers. Lawyers from the other side argued that the royal prerogative did not apply because the Brexit would not only affect their foreign policy issues, but also their domestic and legal rights. Therefore, the court concluded that it should step in on how to proceed, allowing Parliament to vote. Despite the fact that a large majority of the Members of Parliament (MPs) were on the side to remain in the EU, now that the public has spoken, they will be under much more pressure to reflect the feelings of the public rather than their own feelings.
The court's decision, although inconvenient for those who voted for the Brexit, does not seem to have the potential to halt the withdraw altogether. An overwhelming amount of lawmakers voted to hold the referendum, and to accept the results. If the court's ruling is not overturned, May would then have to work alongside members of Parliament to make decisions for Britain's future. If this deal were to turn into a partnership, or more so a supervised departure, May would have no choice but to work with and consider Parliament's competing priorities, as well as provide them a detailed exit strategy. May has adamantly resisted the idea, saying it would "impede her flexibility in the negotiations, preventing Britain from getting the best possible deal."