Check out this BBC link for more depth:
In short yesterday (12th October 2016) parliament discussed the issue of Brexit in relation to the issue of Parliamentary Sovereignty. The central claim of MPs from across the House (including over 80 pro-EU Tories) was that a government, even with a referendum decision behind it, must ensure that parliament – as the peoples’ representatives – has the final say on just how the UK leaves the EU. This is the essence of Parliamentary Sovereignty in a Representative Democracy.
This call that the Executive branch of government (PM & Cabinet) cannot just act using Royal Prerogative (powers it’s derived over time from the power once wielded by monarchs) has a long precedence originating back to 1610, when parliament trumped the power of the executive.
This High Court decision is potentially of huge constitutional importance, so I urge you ALL to keep your eyes upon it, as it is an issue of significance to you over a range of topics:
Unit 1 Democracy & Participation – Parliamentary Sovereignty, implications of referendums as an aspect of Direct Democracy.
Unit 2 Constitution – The rights of parliament, Royal Prerogative, powers of the executive branch.
Unit 2 Judiciary & Civil Liberties – Judicial Review, powers of the Supreme Court, rights of parliament and rights of citizens (especially those who did not vote ‘leave’ last June 23rd?).
Unit 1 PM & Cabinet – This whole issue is based again in the small majority (12) Theresa May has in parliament. She has a referendum behind her, but she didn’t even have enough votes to stop the discussion in parliament yesterday. The powers of the executive are significantly challenged here in a good example of the tensions that exist between parliament and the executive.
So, to re-cap this is:
- A legal challenge to the government’s right to begin the official process of Brexit without parliamentary approval.
- The High Court will consider whether ministers can invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the trigger for formal talks on separation, without MPs passing an act of Parliament.
- The case is being brought by investment manager Gina Miller among others.
- Ministers argue they can act under ancient powers of Royal Prerogative.
…KEEP YOUR EYES ON THIS ONE!