This morning a High Court ruled that Parliament would have to vote to invoke Article 50 – the official process to leave the European Union, rather than the government being able to invoke it on their own. Now, there has been a huge overreaction from both sides of the political spectrum, especially from high profile Brexiteers. Many Brexiteers have claimed this is denying the will of the people, and are stirring the pot by suggesting this is simply trying to block Brexit.
This is simply not true. The courts are not blocking Brexit, they are simply implementing the sovereignty of Parliament, something Brexiteers were fighting for during the referendum campaign…
Now what does this mean for Brexit? To be quite honest, not an awful lot. Many are using today as an opening chapter to their crazy belief that we will end up not leaving the EU. As much as I would love for that to happen, it simply won’t. There will be some MPs who rebel the whip, but it would easily pass through Parliament whenever a vote is called.
However, it does give the opportunity for the opposition to make demands, the number one priority being single market access. Many MPs will likely tell the government they will only vote to invoke Article 50 if the UK’s place in the single market is secure, and access to services remains.
But, Theresa May has another option. For months, there have been rumours of an early general election, so that the PM can establish her own mandate across the country. Now should the government lose their appeal it’s quite likely that May will call an election in 2017 to increase her majority, and force a vote through the commons.
And let’s be honest, because Labour under Corbyn is providing no opposition, it would be an easy option for May. The Tories hold huge leads in the polls, and if an election was held today it’s forecast that the Tories would increase their majority to roughly 130 – and with that the government would be able to push through any kind of Brexit they want, one that will likely see us leave the single market, an economic catastrophe.
To summarise, the court ruling today hasn’t changed much, apart from that it’s likely Article 50 will be invoked later than promised. It may have caused an early general election, or it might have just helped the UK to stay in the single market – we’ll have to wait and see.