Britain’s Parliament is “very likely” to get a chance to vote on the final agreement reached with the European Union (EU) on the UK’s exit from the 28-nation economic bloc, a government lawyer has said.
The issue was raised in the High Court here this week by lawyers representing the UK government in a challenge to the legality of the Brexit referendum without a Parliament vote.
“Any such changes are a matter for future negotiations, parliamentary scrutiny, and implementation by legislation. The government view at the moment is that it is very likely that any such agreement would be subject to ratification,” government lawyer James Eadie told the High Court.
On being pressed further by Lord Chief Justice Thomas on whether any agreement with the EU would eventually be subject to approval by Parliament, he added: “It is ultimately dependent upon the agreement of the parties to the treaty, whether they want it to be subject to ratification or not.
“But as I say, the view within government is that it is very likely that this treaty will be subject to ratification process in the usual way. Most of them are. It is a pretty rare event for the things to take effect immediately upon accession.”
Downing Street confirmed that position set out in court was the view of the government.
A spokesperson said: “The point we were making in court today and counsel made clear is caveated with not yet knowing the shape and terms of our exit from the EU but that there will be obligations to meet with regard to the constitutional reform and governance act. We would consider the outcome against those obligations and meet them.”
According to The Guardian, judgment in the legal challenge to Brexit is likely to be reserved and announced only several weeks later. The losing side is likely to then appeal to the Supreme Court to pursue the challenge.
The case, which opened last week, challenges British Prime Minister Theresa May’s right to trigger Article 50 and begin official Brexit proceedings without a parliamentary vote.
The challenge has been brought by a group of businesses led by investment manager Gina Miller, whose lawyers argue that the government cannot trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty unilaterally despite a public referendum in favour of leaving the European Union