Britain SC asks govt. to hold vote before leaving EU

| Updated: Jan 24, 2017 23:37 IST

London [UK], Jan. 24(ANI): Britain's Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the United Kingdom Government must hold a vote in Parliament before beginning the process of leaving the European Union (EU). The decision is a complication for UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who wanted to initiate Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the legal mechanism that begins the process of leaving the EU, by the end of March. Implementation of the treaty would lead to opening of strong EU negotiations, which are likely to last two years, reports the CNN. The Supreme Court judges voted eight to three against the government, saying that the legal consequences of leaving the EU were great enough to require an act of Parliament to start the process. "To proceed otherwise would be breach of settled constitutional principles stretching back many centuries," Lord David Neuberger, president of the Supreme Court, said as he read out the ruling. But the court decided that the UK Government did not need the approval of devolved governments in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to begin the negotiation process. The decision is likely to be met with relief at 10 Downing Street, as 62 percent of Scots voted to remain in the union. The government said it was disappointed by the ruling, but would abide by it. May, who has promised the lawmakers a vote on the outcome of the talks, wanted to begin the process without a decision in Parliament. The government had appealed a November High Court decision and the Supreme Court judges deliberated the case over four days in December last year before giving their verdict on Tuesday. Brexit has become a key test of Prime Minister May's leadership. May took over the premiership after former leader David Cameron stood down over the Brexit vote. Cameron had called the referendum but had campaigned for the country to remain in the union. The chief claimant of the case, London-based businesswoman Gina Miller, welcomed the decision, saying Brexit had been "most divisive issue of a generation." She told of how she had been harassed over the course of the case. CNN previously reported that she had received rape and death threats over the issue. (ANI)