A court ruling on Article 50 hints at Britain’s coming constitutional storm


ON THE morning of January 24th the Supreme Court ruled that Britain’s government has to put Article 50 (the formal two-year process by which Britain will leave the European Union) to a vote in parliament. It should never have come to this. Last summer Brexiteers won the EU referendum by pledging to return sovereignty to Westminster. It was shabby of Theresa May to try to bypass legislators—and a strategic misjudgment to waste time by appealing December’s ruling by the High Court, which the Supreme Court has now straightforwardly upheld.

Some detect an establishment stitch-up: Iain Duncan Smith accuses the judges of telling parliament what it should do. On this (like so much else) the welfare secretary is wrong. Sensible Brexiteers are tellingly welcoming the judgment, the essence of which is that the executive’s “royal prerogative” does not empower it to overrule the 1972 act taking Britain into the EU. The result is a victory for parliamentary democracy and a credit to Gina Miller (pictured above), the businesswoman who bravely brought the case in the first place (she has been showered with death threats for her troubles).

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