Sunday, October 24

Brexit legal challenge: High Court bid could derail Theresa May’s EU exit timetable


 

 

Remain supporters have crowd-funded £32,000 in legal fees to argue Ms May will need Parliament’s backing before beginning formal negotiations to leave the EU.

Theresa May’s timetable for negotiating Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union could be derailed by a High Court challenge in October.

Pro-EU campaigners who claim the Prime Minister needs Parliament’s backing before starting formal talks have raised £32,000 towards their £50,000 initial legal costs from 840 people through crowd-funding. They are confident their “People’s Challenge” will go ahead.

Ms May is expected early next year to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which will start two years of Brexit negotiations. The Government has refused to promise MPs and peers a vote on the decision, fuelling speculation that it may use the Royal Prerogative, under which the monarch’s historic powers are exercised by ministers without needing Parliament’s approval.

Ms May is expected early next year to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which will start two years of Brexit negotiations. The Government has refused to promise MPs and peers a vote on the decision, fuelling speculation that it may use the Royal Prerogative, under which the monarch’s historic powers are exercised by ministers without needing Parliament’s approval.

Several separate challenges the Government over Article 50 are being planned and they are likely to be heard together in mid-October.

Ms May is also under political pressure to delay the start of Brexit talks. Some politicians, including the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, have argued that it would be better to wait until after elections in France next spring and Germany next autumn so the Prime Minister knows with whom she will be negotiating. But the European Commission and other EU leaders are pressing the UK to open formal talks as soon as possible.

The EU’s approach to Brexit will be discussed by Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor; Francois Hollande, the French President and Matteo Renzi, Italy’s Prime Minister, at a summit near Naples on Monday. The 27 EU leaders, meeting without the UK, will debate the issue in Bratislava next month.